Politicians, babus at loggerheads over tax hike
The stage is set for a clash between the bureaucracy and the political class over raising of taxes.
Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) is all set to increase property tax and water charges in the city soon to combat the financial crunch that the civic body is facing. Municipal commissioner Dinesh Waghmare, who is firm on this decision, is virtually on a collision course with the ruling NCP.
Waghmare said if the elected representatives did not approve the proposal, he would use the powers vested in him to raise taxes.
Former minister Ganesh Naik, who heads the ruling party, has however reiterated that he will not allow taxes to be raised for the next 10 years come what may.
Naik had in 2005 promised that there would be no increase in taxes in the city for the next 20 years, an assurance he has repeated in every election campaign.
Speaking at an NCP workers’ meet earlier this week, Naik said, “I will not allow property taxes and water charges to be raised for the next 20 years.”
With Naik stating his decision, any proposal by the administration could be rejected by the NCP majority general body and standing committee of NMMC. If required, Waghmare has said, he was ready to use the powers vested in him to override objection by the elected representatives.
Speaking on measures being planned by NMMC to overcome the difficult financial position it is facing because of the abolishment of Local Body Tax, its main source of income, Waghmare said, “Property tax is a significant source of income. At present the rateable or rental value system is used to calculate the tax. If we use the BMC pattern of Capital value method based on the market value of the property instead of the rental value, there is will be a huge increase in our revenue. It will increase by almost Rs550 crore.”
He said, “The water charges in our city are the least in the MMR region. We will have to increase them as well.”
Commenting on the opposition to the increase in the taxes, Waghmare said, “If changes are required in the city, administrative will alone is not enough. If there is political will, a lot of development can take place in the city.”