One had two apprehensions in the run-up to the budget. One, whether we would be fiscally responsible given the large loan waivers and two, whether urban areas would be impacted with lower fund availability. Further, CMP tends to be Common Maximum Programme, given the coalition pressures — so we will finally get less than whatever is set out.
The report card for Bengaluru is mixed and while the budget has some good features, there are areas of concern. Let’s look at the welcome steps. The Integrated Road Transport Authority is long overdue and needs to start functioning from today. The authority needs to focus on pedestrians and cyclists, and deal cab aggregators, congestion pricing and parking. Rs 100 crore subsidy to BMTC and third phase Metro study are welcome. While promoting usage of electric vehicles is desirable, private players will put up charging infrastructure if the state acted as an enabler.
The dampener on the traffic front is the emphasis on elevated roads. Our private vehicle ownership is 0.7 of population. When we should be bringing it down, this infrastructure will provide a fillip for more private vehicle ownership and sound the death knell for trees. Flyovers are required in select places but a network of them as announced is undesirable. On civic woes like garbage, pollution, frothing lakes, health, safety, the budget is silent and bereft of ideas. One hoped there was an emphasis on the scaling up of STP plants to fix the lake problem.
The PPR finds mention but the language is similar as in the past. It will not succeed. Doing this road requires an area development approach and building partnerships with landowners as a win-win proposition. Recognising plastics as a menace is good but one needs to be more radical in banning plastics.
This budget does not embrace the need for a new governance for managing Bengaluru. We are failing a city of 1 crore and will fail as the population doubles if we do not innovate in our public systems.
D12 cr has been allocated to set up a bone marrow transplant unit at Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology in the city.
Reeling under a financial deficit of D4,000 crore, BDA was hoping to get at least D1,600 crore this time. But the allocation is nowhere near the expectation.
The direct subsidy of D100 crore offered by the state government to the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation in the budget on Thursday will go some distance towards reducing the D350 crore annual loss incurred by it. The new buses announced in the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 budgets will be inducted this year along with 80 electric buses.