With the global economy expected to take time to recover, the country’s richest civic body fears a serious budget deficit over the next five years, with lower octroi collections and rising salaries. The MCGM has projected deficits that could run up to Rs 4,500 crore in 2015 and hurt the upkeep of the city. In a projection statement made for the next five years, the civic finance department has said that starting with the 2010-11 budget, there could be a shortfall of Rs 603 crore in the revenue account. The deficit will affect the capital expenditure. The MCGM, which passed a budget of Rs 19,000 crore in 2009-10, has been registering surpluses since 2003, riding the then boom in the economy, particularly real estate. Its surplus of Rs 194 crore in 2003 had risen to Rs 550 crore in 2007. Now, in a 76-page report submitted to the standing committee, the civic administration has said that in view of the global financial crisis no new projects can be undertaken in the 2010-11 budget. The report recommends postponement of major projects involving huge investments and beautification. The standing committee has called a special meeting on Friday to discuss the situation. The new MCGM Commissioner Swadheen Kshatriya has taken this issue amongst others as his top priority.
February 11, 2016