No sops in the last BMC bud­get be­fore civic polls

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - HT NAVI MUMBAI - Ku­nal Puro­hit ku­nal.puro­hit@hin­dus­tan­

MUM­BAI: Pre­sent­ing its last bud­get be­fore the all-im­por­tant elec­tions to the BMC next year, mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner chief Ajoy Me­hta on Wed­nes­day bucked the trend of a pop­ulist of­fer­ing on poll-eve and in­stead came up with a no-frills one. No in­crease in your di­rect taxes, but no new projects ei­ther.

Me­hta’s bud­get size was a whop­ping Rs37,052.15 crore, an in­crease of 9.5 % over the last year’s bud­get out­lay of Rs33,519.15 crore. The bud­get, how­ever, raised oc­troi on the im­port of crude into the city by re­finer­ies, which could push up petrol and diesel rates a bit.

The bud­get could in­ten­sify the squab­bling be­tween the rul­ing al­lies in the state and the civic body, the BJP and the Shiv Sena.

With an eye on the elec­tions, the Sena, which heads the Bri­han­mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­por­ta­tion, was nat­u­rally keen on a pop­ulist bud­get -- ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture projects and en­hanced pub­lic spend­ing. It may see this low-key of­fer­ing as a de­lib­er­ate ploy by the BJP -- which heads the state govern­ment and, hence, con­trols the civic ad­min­is­tra­tion – to deny the Sena any mileage from sops ahead of the BMC elec­tions.


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