Hyderabad: The Urban Local Bodies in the State including the GHMC should increase O and M expenditure to improve quality of infrastructure such as roads, parks, footpaths and the estimated additional financial requirement of 73 ULBs including GHMC over five years is estimated at Rs 40,720 Crores. It includes O and M cost for three years.
This is one of the key findings of the study conducted by the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) on “Municipal Finances and Service Delivery in the ULBs of Telangana”. The study was undertaken at the behest of the First Finance Commission constituted by the State Government for the award period of 2020-2025.
The findings of the study were deliberated at a workshop attended by representatives from Commissioner and Director of Municipal Administration (CDMA), GHMC, municipal corporations and municipal councils and municipal finance experts.
The workshop was presided by G Rajesham Goud, Chairman, TSFC. Suresh Chanda, member Secretary, TSFC, B Venkatesham, Principal Secretary, Backward Classes Welfare, M Chennaiah, member, TSFC, GR Reddy, Advisor (Finance), GoI, Dr Ravikant Joshi, Prof V N Alok, Prof Chetan Vaidya, Krishna Kumar, Alok Prasanna and Mathangi Chandrashekar from academia, law firms, think tanks, research institutes, NGOs and other related institutes were among those who took part.
The study as part of its findings stressed the need for significant reforms to address financial needs and service delivery improvement in urban local bodies.
These could include coverage and collection efficiency improvement of property tax, vacant land tax and other non-tax revenues, land monetization measures, promoting PPP for amenable municipal infrastructure areas, increase in share of assigned revenues from State to ULBs, increase in grant funding from State SFC, strengthening property tax board integrated spatial data, management system and promoting citizen engagement in municipal management.
While service delivery situation with respect to water supply, solid waste management, drainage etc has improved in ULBs over the last few years, gaps exist and needs considerable investments. Hyderabad city, because of its importance for the State of Telangana, needs considerable investment support in the areas of roads, sewerage, drainage etc.
The study pointed out that the financial situation of ULBs is weak and they are barely able to cover the cost of administration and O and M expenditure. The capital investment requirement to address infrastructure needs cannot be financed with modest revenue surplus being generated by ULBs.