If the BBMP brings in financial discipline and plug leakages it will have enough and more money for its activities. The civic body has to invest on capacity building and quality assurance. Not everything in BBMP can be contractor and consultant driven.
Enhance Property Tax Collection
Although the KMC Act mandates revision of property tax every three years, the BBMP had not hiked it for many years due to political reasons. In the year 2016, BBMP's attempt to enhance the property tax was strongly opposed by public by saying "Tax Bhagya" as many residential properties saw a steep hike which forced BBMP to roll back its plan by reducing the hike at 20% for residential and 25% for commercial establishments.
Generally, in a city like Bengaluru, majority of residential property owners pay tax on time. It is the commercial segment that has been defaulting. The strong invisible official-defaulter nexus has let this happen for years. This has to be set right on priority. The BBMP should make an honest attempt to collect tax from all those who have evaded the tax net and also penalise them as per law. BBMP should also ensure delivery of quality services after paying lot of taxes, Bengalureans do not deserve rotting garbage, potholed roads, sewage floods and burning lakes.
The status of integration of revenue departments Kaveri system with the BBMP's GIS-based property tax information system is unknown. Both BBMP and GoK should complete this task on priority to plug the revenue leakage.
BBMP must go for big ticket reforms
For over 10 years, the BBMP with an annual budget of more than Rs 10,000 crore has not published its internal audit report and since 2015, the Namma Bengaluru Foundation is fighting in Karnataka High Court in this regard.
The recent effort by BBMP to bring itself under the ambit of the Karnataka Local Fund Authorities Fiscal Responsibilities Act (KLFAFRA), 2003 and the Karnataka Municipalities Accounting and Budgeting Rules (KMABR), 2006 is a welcome move and was very long-standing reform to bring fiscal discipline in BBMP.
These laws will ensure standardised accounting and budgeting rules and formats of annual accounts supported by standardised information systems. These laws will also mandate BBMP to publish an annual performance report along with city management report, audited annual accounts, cost and performance indicators, and a budget variance statement.
Empanelled CAs will independently audit BBMP's accounts annually and submit the report by July 31 for the previous fiscal. These reports should be made available to the public.
BBMP should also take serious steps to put an end to mismanagement of funds by implementing the recommendations of both internal audit and CAG audit. Till date, BBMP has not published compliance report.
BBMP property on 99-year lease
In the name of caste and religion most of the BBMP properties including many shops in BBMP shopping malls and playgrounds are given to various trusts, sports academies and clubs / individuals on long lease at a throwaway price. The irony is the same properties are being sub-leased at very competitive commercial rates. BBMP should prepare a detailed zone-wise database of its properties and status of the same....