Activist Ashok R Datar says, despite the Mumbai municipal corporation having an plan outlay of over Rs37,000 crore for FY2016-17, there is not attempt by the budget to measure outcomes
The Budget of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) is more than that of several states of India. For FY2016-17, the BMC Budget at Rs37,052 crore is significantly higher, up from Rs33,514 crore in the previous year. However, this Budget has only outlays and does not define outcomes of the money spent or earmarked for various activities, says Ashok R Datar, activist and chairman of Mumbai Environmental Social Network (MESN). He was speaking at Moneylife Foundation on "Unravelling the BMC Budget: For citizens' Participation".
“... (the) BMC budget is one of the biggest, using most advanced accounting software in the world. However, there are no numbers or date on quantities for several resources and expenditures. For example, there is no mention of number of properties tax before and after 2010 or the annual increase under this head. No data on dry waste and debris collected in tonnes per day is provided. There is also no information on number and names of contractors, listed by revenues/ expenditure."
The big issued he flagged is that we do not know how the money is spent. "The BMC has consistently not been utilising the entire allocation either. The city needs to have a waste segregation plan. There is a strong connection between waste and traffic. The approach to transporting waste has to change.
Every day Mumbai generates 9,600 metric tonnes of waste, which is collected and transported to landfills. According to the BMC’s budget document, the corporation spent around Rs 1,413 crore on solid waste management and transport in 2012-2013. This has risen to an estimated Rs 2,852 crore for 2016-17.
Mr Datar says, "The cost to transport one kilogram of garbage comes to about Rs8, including salaries for around 35,000 employees. In addition, there is cost of diesel, the issues of traffic jams, which results in situations like floods and the Deonar dumping ground fires."
"To work around the cost, we need to check out the possibility to levy charge of Rs4 per kg from people for mixed waste, with no cost for segregated waste. We also need to think levying fines for littering road, using IT mapping," he added.
Mr Datar then explained about how BMC spends more money on education, as per the Budget document, compared with aided schools. He said, there are about 4.35 lakh students in municipal schools run by the BMC. In Mumbai, there are 1.63 lakh aided schools while the number of unaided schools is about 3 lakh. Considering, the BMC has total expenditure of Rs1,223 crore and number of teachers at about 13,500, the cost per student in municipal schools comes to around Rs36,000. This is way high compared with Rs17,000 in aided schools."