Schools, healthcare top south corporation budget agenda

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NEW DELHI:The South Delhi Municipal Corporation budget, tabled in the house on Friday, has put schools, sanitation, and healthcare high on its agenda.

The forthcoming municipal elections obviously weighed on the BJP-led house, as Shailender Singh Monty, chairman of the SDMC Standing Committee, presented the last budget of this house.

As well as rolling back the proposed raise on property tax, Monty also restored all the rebates for senior citizens and disabled people, which were slashed in the budgetary proposal made by the SDMC commissioner in December.

The commissioner had proposed 30% increase on base unit area value for all category of properties, in the December budgetary proposal. The commissioner proposed a 2% raise in the rate of property tax for residential property of A and B categories, a 1% raise in C, D, and E categories, along with a 5% raise in property tax for guesthouses, hotels, lodges, restaurants, liquor shops, and bars.

Shailender Singh said, “The corporation has established an equilibrium between income and expenditure. Our property tax collection went up by 4.5%, up to October, 2016 and we do not wish to place extra burden on citizens.” The revised revenue target for 2016-17 of SDMC is Rs 3,796.33 crores, while the revised expenditure is Rs 4,047.79 crores. In 2015-16, SDMC generated Rs 3,266.12 crore in income, against an expenditure of Rs 2,905.52 crore.

The budget also proposed to provide better working conditions for its sanitation workers. “Sanitation workers need rest rooms,” Monty said, announcing 10 rest rooms for sanitation workers. Sanitation services would be improved in 100 market places in south Delhi, with the deployment of 300 more sanitation workers for the upkeep of toilets
For schools, the budget proposed a School Quality Enhancement Programme, which would provide better learning experience to students. Already operational in 12 schools, the special programme would be extended to 25 more schools. Also, special ‘Science Clubs’ would be started in 100 schools.

Monty made a provision to provide concrete buildings for 16% of the schools, which were thus far housed in temporary structures, and provide CCTV cameras in all schools under the SDMC jurisdiction. The budget revived several old project including the proposal to construct a 100-bed hospital in Tilak Nagar, Dwarka and Fatehpur Beri, four dog sterilization centres at Bijwasan, Mundela, Nangli and Masoodpur.
The other major budgetary allocations include a bio-gas plant in the Najafgarh zone, four CNG cremation grounds, an indoor sports hall, and 21 new upgraded health centres. The budget will be up for debate in the house from January 31.