BMC un­der fire for de­lay­ing pro­posal on prop­erty tax MBMC’s tax amnesty plan may be grounded

The Free Press Journal - - MUMBAI - STAFF RE­PORTER –Suresh Golani

The mem­bers of the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Wed­nes­day slammed the civic body for not send­ing the pro­posal of prop­erty tax ex­emp­tion for houses mea­sur­ing up to 500 square feet to the state gov­ern­ment for fur­ther ap­proval.

The pro­posal was ap­proved and passed in the civic body meet­ing in July last year, how­ever, BMC Com­mis­sioner Ajoy Me­hta did not send the file to state gov­ern­ment. The in­for­ma­tion was brought to the no­tice of the stand­ing com­mit­tee by the BJP, which led a heated dis­cus­sion in the meet­ing there­after.

In July, the gen­eral body of Bri­han­mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion (BMC) cleared a pro­posal to waive off prop­erty tax for res­i­den­tial houses mea­sur­ing up to 500 sq ft and to give a 60 per cent con­ces­sion for houses be­tween 500 sq ft and 700 sq ft, a poll prom­ise by the Shiv Sena ahead of the civic elec­tions.

There­fore, af­ter ap­proval from the civic house which com­prises of 227 cor­po­ra­tors, it was ex­pected that it will be for­warded to the state gov­ern­ment to make nec­es­sary changes in the Mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion (MMC) Act 1988 for im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pro­posal.

Mean­while, BJP cor­po­ra­tor Manoj Ko­tak in­sisted the ad­min­is­tra­tion to move the file im­me­di­ately. He also in­sisted that in­stead of tax ex­emp­tion on houses mea­sur­ing up to 500 sq ft – the de­mand of Shiv Sena – BMC should ask ex­emp­tion up to 700 sq.ft as de­manded by the BJP.

Ko­tak added that Chief Min­is­ter Deven­dra Fad­navis him­self in the Ma­ha­rash­tra assem­bly showed will­ing­ness on tax ex­emp­tion on houses mea­sur­ing up to 700 sq.ft, there­fore it should be con­sid­ered ac­cord­ingly.

In ad­di­tion, with the in­tro­duc­tion of Goods and Ser­vices Tax (GST) last year, the BMC had to do away with Oc­troi, one of its pri­mary sources of rev­enue.

How­ever, it has re­ceived Rs 5,180 crore from the gov­ern­ment as com­pen­sa­tion re­cently. In ad­di­tion, if the cur­rent pro­posal of prop­erty tax ex­emp­tion is passed, the BMC will in­cur loss of ap­prox­i­mately Rs 500 cr per year. With the loss of rev­enue, the BMC will have to look at other av­enues to fund ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture projects for the city. BHAYAN­DAR: In a ma­jor em­bar­rass­ment for the BJP which rules the Mira Bhayan­dar Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion (MBMC), its much hyped Tax Amnesty Scheme may be doomed even be­fore it could ac­tu­ally take off, as it still awaits an of­fi­cial nod from the civic ad­min­is­tra­tion for nearly a month now.

In an at­tempt to aug­ment rev­enue, the BJP-led MBMC had passed a res­o­lu­tion en­vis­ag­ing an amnesty scheme in­volv­ing 50 per­cent waiver on penalty and in­ter­est levied on prop­erty tax de­fault­ers, sub­ject to one-time pay­ment on or be­fore March 31.

As per the res­o­lu­tion, the scheme was aimed at pro­vid­ing an op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to come clean on the tax front by mak­ing an up­front pay­ment as the rev­enue gen­er­ated could be used to en­hance civic ameni­ties and pump funds into much needed in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­men­tal projects. How­ever, be­cause of a dif­fer­ence in opin­ions be­tween a sec­tion of of­fi­cials at­tached to the tax depart­ment, the civic chief BG Pawar is yet to take a de­ci­sion.

“Cit­ing fi­nan­cial im­pli­ca­tions, a sim­i­lar pro­posal had been shot down last year. An opin­ion has been sought from the gov­ern­ment, once we get di­rec­tives the scheme will be im­ple­mented,” said, Pawar.

Av­er­ag­ing Rs 180 crore as the an­nual rev­enue gen­er­a­tion, the MBMC has re­cov­ered just 57 per­cent out­stand­ing and is far from achiev­ing its tar­get in the cur­rent fis­cal.

In July, the gen­eral body of BMC cleared a pro­posal to waive off prop­erty tax for res­i­den­tial houses mea­sur­ing up to 500 sq ft and to give a 60 per cent con­ces­sion for houses be­tween 500 sq ft and 700 sq ft, a poll prom­ise by the Shiv Sena ahead of the civic elec­tions

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