NDMC to levy service charge on embassies on a ‘reciprocal basis’ | delhi | Hindustan Times
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NDMC to levy service charge on embassies on a ‘reciprocal basis’

The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), from this year onwards, will start collecting service charge from embassies located in the area under its jurisdiction.

delhi Updated: Apr 08, 2010 23:33 IST
Neelam Pandey

Foreign embassies located in the heart of the city will now have to shell out money for the ‘services’ that they have been enjoying all this while, for free.

The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), from this year onwards, will start collecting service charge from embassies located in the area under its jurisdiction.

“We will start collecting service charges from properties of foreign missions in NDMC area from this financial year, as per provisions laid down by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in this regard,” said Anand Tiwari, NDMC spokesman.

The civic agency had received an ‘in-principle’ approval from Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to levy a ‘service charge’ on foreign embassies located in its jurisdiction.

He further added that the charges would be on a reciprocal basis, which means that only those countries will be asked to pay a ‘service charge’, which have been charging the same on Indian embassies.

“The MEA is yet to furnish us with a list. Once we receive that, we will start issuing notices to these embassies,” he added.

All foreign embassies are exempted from paying property tax under international conventions but a service charge can be collected.

The civic agency is finalising the amount the embassies need to pay under the Unit Area Method of computation.

According to NDMC, while the embassies are sent bills for water, electricity and sewage, they are not charged anything for services like street lighting maintenance, road maintenance and garbage collection.

However, a number of Indian embassies are levied a service charge for the same by a number of countries.

The foreign embassies, along with state and central government offices, occupy about 80 per cent of the council’s area.

The NDMC spends more than Rs 500 crore every year in services rendered in these prime areas. In return, the NDMC gets, on an average, only Rs 200 crore per year from property tax on colonies.

It also raises revenue through licenses to markets and interest on bank deposits.

“This year, our property tax collection has improved. Compared to last year, we have received Rs 293 crore this year, although we had expected to receive only Rs 244 crore,” said a senior NDMC official.