Pre-poll budget has perks for councillors, sops for residents

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From perks for councillors to tax waivers for some property owners, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation’s budget for the next financial year is unlikely to include any big new projects.

With elections to the municipal corporations slated for April, the last budget to be presented by the BJP-led civic body this term would focus on improving services and social welfare schemes.

Though the budget is yet to be finalised, chairperson of the Standing Committee Parvesh Wahi said that the budget he presented in the House on Friday was “not all election-related announcements”.

Insurance scheme

“The budget is aimed at the welfare of citizens. For instance, we will start an insurance scheme for rickshaw-pullers,” said Mr. Wahi, adding that some of the announcements would be put in force this financial year.

Mr. Wahi proposed a property tax waiver for owners who are 100 years or older as well as owners of residential properties up to 20 square metres in size. To improve sanitation, Mr. Wahi said that all safai karamcharis would be given mobile phones to improve coordination.

Increasing revenue

To increase revenue for the cash-strapped corporation, Mr. Wahi proposed renting out Ramlila Maidan for up to four weddings at a time. This would lead to Rs. 2 crore in revenue annually, Mr. Wahi said. Another means of revenue generation was allowing ads on the corporation’s website, which Mr. Wahi said could net Rs. 10 crore a year.

Healthcare services would be given a boost with the development of a ‘medicity’ at the Rajan Babu Institute of Pulmonary Medicine and Tuberculosis and outsourcing sanitation services at corporation hospitals.

Chauffer for councillors

Another major category of proposals in Mr. Wahi’s budget was perks for councillors. The chairperson proposed giving each councillor a chauffeur, which he said would aid them in reaching out to the public.

He also proposed to give life insurance to about 500 former and current councillors. The councillors’ development fund was proposed to be increased from Rs. 52 crore to Rs. 104 crore.