Monday, January 24, 2011

Budget Shaharache ! Part 1


Man proposes God disposes… Old Saying

Such thoughts must have been crossed in the mind of Hon Comm when he was reading the budget of our beloved Pune city for 2011 i.e. first year of the new decade, to the  PMC elected members!

As however the noble thought may be but all depends up the God & unfortunately the city has too many Gods! Right from the numerous so called Jagruk Nagrik, NGO”S, Builders, Gold smiths, Hoteliers, Transporters ,Industries too the Supreme God i.e. General Body of the city who consists of elected members i.e. Corporators, all of these have to be satisfied with their interests then only the budget will be through! In all this, where is the voice of true god i.e. the Janata Janardan? What’s their say on their demands as well the promises made to them on during election? Here I remember the movie Gajani of Amir khan in which he has shown patient of Short Term Memory loss! We as a public are also diseased with same thing & its growing every day! Only difference is we have this disease just in reference to the various promises made to us by our elected members as well Govt regarding the development of this city!

Let’s see what’s the intentions & actual reality about the budget & then we will talk about what the city needs! Please don’t take my words as criticism as there is no deficiency of critics in this very city, what I am trying to analyze is what is the scenario about the city development on the start of new decade as well this will be last budget before next Municipal election, so its interesting how our supreme god reacts on Hon Comm’s proposals. This is the time when we can analyze that can even the God be selfish! Because city right now is growing like Sachin Tendulkar’s carrier story i.e. what ever he does now is a record! May it be a hundred or one more one day or test or every single run he makes in international cricket! Every day scaling a new record is what we are also doing as a city, may it be a new educational institute, new vehicle on road, new accident or a new hotel coming up! Unfortunately here also we top in some dubious records & that is road accidents along with highest number of vehicles per person. What a shame for us that we know exact numbers of vehicles & type & make but we are unable to know number of trees with us which actually will be counter parting the pollution created by these vehicles!

What the Hon Comm has in budget has proposed is not just add on taxes but it's increase in revenue which no doubt is a must for the city development & each time we can’t be dependant on Central Govt or World bank for funding our own projects. Issue is will the Supreme God’s accept this on the eve of forth coming elections? Because that means annoying the true god which they remembers once in five years! Please take a note that, here my intention isn’t put blame on any single segment of the society but what is mentality of the society or thought reflection you can call it. Though the true god is also equally at fault for being quite over four years & getting awake only in fifth year! Here many will say what we can do about it? Well this question at least we could have asked in time!

There is ( I presume) a provision of accommodating suggestions from the citizen in the budget about the works to be done on priority basis in their neighborhood, which again always has been disapproved by our supreme gods! Yet it is there & how many people have availed it? How many times we collectively have gone to our cooperator or ward office & submitted list of the works to be done in our surrounding, rather how many of us knows where is our ward office & who is officer in charge there? We always criticize slum dwellers for getting favored by elected members as well by administration for all their needs but have we ever thought why? Its simple they always fight collectively for their demands & they vote also collectively! We all so called white collared can only fight with each other collectively & that’s why our demands remains in our own minds only!

Yet some questions remains over the intentions of Hon Comm’s comments or suggestions on increasing taxes or current policies. Like, what about the tax recovery from slums ,as if nearly 30% of the city population is from slums or that kind of establishments, what steps or measures have being taken to recover property tax from them & what’s was the contribution from the same in last year? Because any tax hike will pinch only to the person who is paying the tax! Similarly there is need to decide on the increase in revenues & for that some bold policies are a must! For e.g. while traveling around the city one can see lots of open land & being in profession related to land, I know many of them comes under various reservations such as roads, parking, gardens etc. Why PMC on her own isn’t doing the development & giving TDR or remuneration to the land owners on not just fast track but super fast track. Why we keep waiting the developer or the land lord will come forwards & do the road development & then rest of the development will follow! Is this city runs on individual’s development plan for his land? Because by now even a small kid knows that if the road net work in any area is good the rest development automatically follows, indirectly generating more revenue for PMC. Here we can take example of our neighbor city i.e. PCMC, where you can see good wide roads crossing even fields where no development has been around.
Also any property development is directly related to the development of such infrastructure in the surrounding. For e.g. after construction of Rajaram Bridge Sinhagad road & west part of the city i.e. got connected & the rates as well speed of development around Sinhagad road increased significantly. Similar is Paud roads Bhusari colony area got prospered after cancellation of Kacara depot. So we can imagine the significant impact of budget on real estate.
For me any land which is shown as residential in Development Plan & is undeveloped is like money laying in bank without interest! Such should be view of the PMC as then only revenue will increase.


What I feel is it’s not about the rise in tax or octroy but it’s the trust of the tax payer that he is getting returns out of what he has paid is important. Reality is, there’s an increasing feeling that what ever policies or development PMC implements they are made either keeping interest of some individual or for some particular business only. And some where PMC elected members, administration as well some of the trades are incapable of generating that confidence in Janta Janardan! The budget needs to overcome this lacuna & instead of figures let the work speaks for itself, which will definitely help in melting down the resistance for any tax hike.

Lastly , I will like to appeal to the citizen of the city that please remember, being aware about our responsibilities doesn’t mean just paying our property tax in time!


--
Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo_power Committee, Credai, Pune

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