BMC budget 2024-25: Focusing on long-term infrastructure projects

Now that the BMC has presented the largest budget ever, the focus will be on implementation and execution of major schemes and projects.

The highest ever budget for the richest civic body in the country, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), was presented on 2nd February by the Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal. This was his fourth time presenting the budget and the second time presenting it in lieu of an elected body. The BMC is slated to spend Rs 59,954.75 crore for the city of Mumbai.

The focus of the budget is the completion of massive infrastructure projects such as the Mumbai Coastal Road project and the Goregaon Mulund Link Road. The Municipal Commissioner has drawn particular attention to the focus of the budget saying, “I would prominently mention here that, for the first time in the history of BMC, Capital Expenditure is more than Revenue Expenditure.”

More CBSE and ICSE seats

An estimated budget of Rs 3,497.82 crore has been announced for the year 20024-25 for the education department as compared to Rs 3,167.63 crore allocated in 2023-24.  A part of this amount will be used to start a second batch in 12 ICSE and CBSE schools run by the BMC. The reason is high demand for admission to these boards.  The civic body already runs 14 CBSE schools, and one each of ICSE, IGCSE, and IB boards.

BMC building lit up at night
BMC has noticed significant demand for admissions in CBSE and ICSE schools it runs. Pic: Prachi Pinglay-Plumber

On the other hand no specifics have been provided as regards SSC schools.  Rs 7.95 crore has been set to be disbursed under the Girls Attendance Allowance Scheme via which 13,906 girls of Class VIII were provided Fixed deposit Certificates of Rs 5000 each in 2023-24. New projects and schemes include scholarships for meritorious students in SSC exams. Despite an increase in the overall education budget, a paltry sum of 75 lakh has been announced for the creation of libraries, with at least one library in each ward.

More super-speciality hospitals

Nearly 12% of the total budget has been assigned to health at Rs 7,191.1 crore. The BMC has earmarked Rs 12 crore for the Non-communicable Diseases Programme. It will establish a Cancer Prevention Model to undertake screening and further referral services for patients detected with oral, breast, and cervical cancers. A pilot programme to curb deaths due to heart disease  has also been proposed  for the new fiscal year.

To eradicate tuberculosis in India by 2025, the BMC has proposed the use of AI for TB detection for which new machines will be purchased for 24 wards.

To reduce the pressure on the major BMC hospitals, there are plans in the pipeline to better equip peripheral hospitals with speciality and super-speciality departments, to the tune of Rs 1,716.9 crore. Plans include the redevelopment or addition of new buildings at peripheral hospitals, and in two cases for the building of new hospitals: a general hospital at Sangharsh Nagar, Chandivali and a super-speciality hospital at Bhandup.

Read more: Round up: Some of the key takeaways from 2023-24 BMC budget

The green budget book

In a first, the BMC has announced the publication of a Green Budget Book for Mumbai this fiscal year taking cognisance of worsening AQI in the city. The Mumbai Climate Action Plan (MCAP) was started in 2022 with the intention of reducing greenhouse gases. The Green Budget Book will set down action-oriented goals which are in alignment with the objectives of MCAP.

The emphasis is on making increasing use of renewable hybrid energy sources and building more open spaces in the form of gardens. Interestingly, the BMC has chosen bamboo to plant along the eastern Express Highway and is scouting other locations in Mumbai for its plantation as well.

BMC fast tracks infrastructure projects

The largest chunk of the budget has been carved out for the Mumbai Coastal Road Project (MCRP) at Rs 4,250 crore for the following stretches: Marine Drive to Worli,  from North Versova to Dahisar, and the last leg constituting Dahisar to Bhayander Link Road.

In addition to this, the budget for the Goregaon Mulund Link Road (GMLR) has been pegged at Rs 1870 crore. The BMC claims that the coastal road will have twin advantages of decongesting arterial roads like the WEH, Link Road, and S.V Road, resulting in cutting travel time from Versova to Dahisar by 30 to 40 minutes.

labourers working on coastal road project
The Mumbai Coastal Project has met with criticism as activists believe that it will cause further environtmental damage. Pic: Prachi Pinglay-Plumber

An amount of Rs 3200 crore has been devoted to the road and traffic department. The BMC report states that a total of 252 km of road has been concretised in 2023-24. It further says that concretisation of another 209 km is in the pipeline in the coming financial year. To manage the problem of finding parking space, the BMC has floated the idea of a parking app, which will allow citizens to pre-book parking slots.

The report also lists 16 bridges under repairs or construction in various stages of completion, prominent among which is the approach road to Gokhale bridge.

BEST is in the midst of some big changes which are already underway. A total provision of Rs 928.65 crore has been made for BEST. There are plans to buy 2000 electric buses for Mumbai, and a part of the money required for this will be covered by a loan from World Bank and a part will be given by the Government of Maharashtra to BEST Undertaking.

River rejuvenation

One of the main reasons for floods in the monsoon every year is the choking of nullahs, and the narrowing of rivers. This budget the civic body has designated  Rs 93 crore, Rs 105 crore, and Rs 45 crore for desilting nullahs and the Mithi river respectively.

The BMC has also taken up the task of the rejuvenation of the Dahisar, Poisar, Oshiwara, and Walbhat rivers. This includes measures to reduce pollution of rivers, putting in sewage pipes, and building a sewage treatment plant. The total budget set aside for work related to Storm Water Drains is Rs 1,930 crore.

What do you think about the BMC’s plan to focus on infrastructure projects? Do share your thoughts about the budget and where you would like the BMC to spend its funds at

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