The Chandigarh municipal corporation will start the coming fiscal with a deficit of ₹670 crore.
The MC General House in a special meeting on Friday approved ₹1,641 crore budget for 2021-22, even as the civic body has only ₹971 crore in its kitty.
The MC budget has pegged the grant-in-aid from the Chandigarh administration at ₹1,202 crore, despite only ₹502 crore allocated in the Union Budget recently.
Meanwhile, ₹469 crore is estimated to be generated by the MC on its own through property tax, water tariff and other avenues.
For the current financial year, too, the MC had prepared a deficit budget of ₹650 crore, and had to depend on the administration’s aid for even paying salaries to its employees after failing to achieve the revenue targets. Against a target of ₹402 crore for 2020-2021, it will be able to garner only ₹317 crore through its own receipts.
Also, this fiscal, against a demand of ₹1,073 crore in grant-in-aid, it has so far got just ₹325 crore from the administration and anticipates another ₹275 crore by March end.
At ₹1,197 crore, even the revenue expenditure (recurring expenses, such as salaries) for the coming fiscal is more than the total funds that the MC estimates to get.
“Capital works like upgrade of sewerage system, stormwater drainage and roads are unlikely to be taken up unless the administration releases additional funds,” said a senior MC official, not wishing to be named.
During the discussion on the budget, Congress councillors questioned as to how the MC planned to bridge the gap between the receipts and planned expenditure. “The MC must ensure that civic works do not suffer due to paucity of funds, as seen in previous years,” said councillor Gurbax Rawat. “This year, there has been a meagre increase even in the administration’s own allocation by the Centre. How will it be able to help the MC?”
Mayor Ravi Kant Sharma said no work will be stopped for lack of funds. “We already have ₹ 971 crore. Another ₹300 crore will be released by the administration from registration and licensing authority collections. We will push for additional aid from excise collections. We have also been assured that two additional petrol pump sites will be given to us,” he said.