Shiv Sena goes back on biggest poll promise, fails to include property tax waiver in BMC budget
Despite winning most seats in the BMC elections held last month, the Shiv Sena failed to deliver on its key promise of abolishing property tax on flats upto 500 sq.ft during the budget announcement on Wednesday.
What was promised:
As a part of the their poll manifesto, Sena President Uddhav Thackeray had declared that the party will waive off property tax for smaller flats and provide concession on slightly bigger ones.
“Housing and healthcare are major issues in Mumbai. Considering this, the Sena has decided to waive off property tax for flats with an area up to 500 sq.ft. Houses of a bigger size, say up to 700 sq.ft, will get a good concession,” Uddhav Thackeray had told reporters.
Incidentally, Thackeray had explicitly stated that their promise was unlike those made by rival parties. “This is not an election jumla like ‘Acche Din’. I have done it before and I will continue to perform even in future,” he had said.
He had also promised free healthcare to people not covered under the government schemes. “The healthcare scheme will be named after the late Balasaheb,” Thackeray said.
What was delivered:
BMC chief Ajoy Mehta announced the budget for the year 2017-18 on Wednesday. The budget outlay of the BMC for the next fiscal was Rs 25,141 crore, significantly down from Rs 37,052 crore last year.
During the presentation, the municipal commissioner announced a host of allocations like the ones for coastal road, enabling 24×7 water supply, cashless payments, facilitating ease in doing business, and projects like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Open Defecation Free Mumbai among others.
However, Sena’s key promises like property tax waiver and Balasaheb Thackeray Health Cover were neither mentioned in the budget nor any amount was allocated towards them.
To pacify those who had voted for Sena due to their tax waiver promise, party leader Yashwant Jadhav later claimed that a relief in property tax was on the cards. However, the party has not explicitly clarified why their major poll promises were not included.
A few other poll promises like opening a specialty hospital for diabetes, three animal healthcare centres, construction of a Dabbawala Bhavan, setting up a new medical college in Govandi etc were also absent from the budget.
Meanwhile, other Sena promises like free travel for BMC school children, Gargai & Pinjal water supply projects, development of playgrounds and swimming pools etc made it to the budget.
Mehta also announced that the civic body would soon open its own business incubation centre to encourage and promote budding entrepreneurs, an idea initially mooted by Aditya Thackeray-led Yuva Sena.