JMC's First Constraint Is Non-availability Of Adequate Funds'
9 March 2005
The Indian Express
Jammu: FORMER vice-president of Jammu Municipal Council Amar Nath Gupta welcomed the formation of local body for the capital city of Jammu after 22 years, with its up-gradation from the Municipal Council to the Municipal Corporation.He said here today that with this up- gradation, enormous responsibility had fallen on the corporation to make Jammu city, the winter capital of the state, an ideal place to live with all the modern amenities of civic life. However, he apprehended several constraints in the smooth functioning of the corporation. The first constraint was non-availability of adequate funds and lack of means with the civic body to raise revenue through its resources. It would be totally dependent on the aids and grants from the state government, the past experience about which was not healthy. An amount of Rs 60 crore earmarked in the budget for the year 2005-06 for all the local bodies in the state, the number of which is about one hundred, was too meagre to be of any practical help. Gupta said even if the corporations of Jammu and Srinagar got the lion share of this allotment, which might go up to Rs 50 per cent of the total earmarked amount of 60 crore i.e. Rs 30 crore and even it was equally divided for Jammu and Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Jammu would get a paltry sum of 15 crore, which was too little to clean the augean stable of civic amenities in the greter city, the boundaries of which are widely extended. He said similarly the share of 10 per cent for all the local bodies from the VAT, excise duties taxes on goods and services and motor vehicle tax, after deducting 10 per cent on account of collection charges, was too little to cope with the enormous task ahead of the civic body. He suggested to enhance the share for local bodies to 30 per cent for these bodies. The octroi duty on all goods entering the city from outside, which used to be major source of revenue of the local body, has since been abolished.