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Despite constraints, KMC hopes to improve deficit

Deficit in 2023-2024 is expected to see an improvement and stand at Rs 146 crore

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

Amid the prevailing fund constraints, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation is hoping to have some good news soon. The civic body is estimated to see an improvement in deficit in its proposed annual Budget for the next fiscal that was introduced by its mayor Firhad Hakim today.

In the Budget outlay of 2022-2023, KMC had proposed a deficit of Rs 177 crore which was revised to 218 crore. For some relief to the civic body, the deficit in 2023- 2024 is expected to see an improvement and stand at Rs 146cr with the forthcoming fiscal opening with a cumulative deficit of Rs 2,025.96 crore under the revenue fund.

Elucidating on the reasons for the deficit, the mayor said, “The deficit has been existing for several years and at present it stands at approx Rs 2,025 crore. There could be questions as to why the deficit still exists despite so much revenue. The reason is that a big share of money is given out as salary as per the pay commission, which is around Rs 1,000 crore. Hence, the deficit.”

The civic body has proposed an outlay of Rs 4,540.79 crore as income and Rs 4,686.79 crore as expenditure. Of the total revenue of Rs 4,540.79 crore, the KMC estimates to get Rs 1,432.11 crore from tax revenue and Rs 898.68cr through non-tax revenue, both figures higher than that of the 2022-2023.

The major departments which got the maximum outlay highlights of the budget was solid waste department with a proposed budget of Rs 644cr followed by the water supply department with Rs 431 crore, road department Rs 340 crore and sewerage and drainage department Rs 306cr.

Notably, property tax is the main source of revenue for KMC and the civic body is said to have collected Rs 975 crore in 2022-2023 till 31 January, which is more than that of last year’s Rs 890 crore.

According to the mayor, in some areas, however, the revenue was not as it should have been. Because of situations like the outbreak of Covid and hike in fuel prices, the civic body was unable to announce a hike in taxes. KMC has therefore, taken a target to generate a revenue of Rs 500 crore from advertisements and make the rules for it more stringent.

The civic body has undertaken an extensive digitalization plan putting efforts to make the tax-paying process online.

“The government has given us a big amount which is being utilized for IT upgradation. We are hoping that in the next few months the IT upgradation would be done in such a way that people would not have to physically come to the KMC office. They would be able to pay taxes, file mutations or obtain a trade licence from home in a few days,” pointed out the mayor.