Who listens to Bengaluru’s crippled puppet?

On June 28th, the city council met for its monthly session to approve the budget. Turns out the proceedings had nothing to show the city was getting financially healthy again. Read our detailed report here.

Last year, BBMP had projected over Rs 9000 crores of expenditure largely predicated on state government grants, it never eventually received. It ended up collecting a mere Rs 3934 crores.
This year again the council has projected nearly Rs 9500 crores with the same gaping hole in projecting receipts.

It is pretty clear to anyone closely observing the local government process in Bangalore that both the state government and city council are merely going through the motions.

For instance, BBMP does not get approvals for state government grants it projects before the budget. It merely requests for grants after finishing its budget exercise and then later in the year throws up its hands saying, the state government has not made out grants!  Last year, months after the budget, the state government issued a letter to BBMP to stop its works since there was no money. Talk of grants requested were conspicuously absent.

This week, in passing another similar paper budget, BBMP has shown again that its projections of total cash inflow are mere statements of intent. The only revenue BBMP controls are property taxes, advertisement fees, and a few cesses. Akrama Sakrama penalty revenues have now been buried given the dusty status of the bill itself. This is why the budget has a hole, year after year.

The budget is also glaring in its apallingly poor quality of data about the city. BBMP does not even get the number of lakes under its control right!

The bigger culprit is the state government. And this is a long story we have told several times in this newsmagazine. As long as Vidhana Soudha – through BDA, BWSSB and BMRDA – controls the real Bangalore, BBMP remains a crippled puppet at best.

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