With an eye on municipal elections 2017, the North Delhi civic body has proposed not to hike property tax in areas under its jurisdiction for the next financial year.
While the ruling BJP has welcomed the proposal, it may not be good for the financial health of the civic corporation, the largest in jurisdiction among the five civic agencies in Delhi.
Property tax is the main source of the civic body’s earning. Already suffering from fiscal deficit of Rs2,754 crores in the current financial year, its revenue gap is estimated to increase by another 30% next year. Short on funds, it was unable to pay salaries to its employees leading to widespread strikes since last year.
Officials said with no hike in taxes, the municipality will be unable to commission new civil and development works in the future. The proposed allocation for sanitation in the next fiscal has remained the same as this year. In health and education, it is down by 3% and 6% as compared to the current year.
The budget announcement was made by commissioner PK Gupta. “In public interest, we have decided not to revise the property tax rates, in any category,” he said. The 2017-18 estimates pegged income and expenditure at Rs 7199.81 crore and Rs 7199.60 crore, respectively.
Also, there is no plan to introduce any additional tax this year.
Explaining the reasons for growing fiscal deficit, Gupta said that corporation had not received funds from the Delhi government as per fourth Delhi finance Commission recommendations. “We are expecting Rs1,200 croes from them,” said Gupta.
According to him, there are series of initiatives proposed in budget to increase the revenue.
The corporation has issued Unique Property Identification cards to 63,519 properties and 73,650 are in pipeline. It has also digitised the record of four lakh taxpayers’ and introduced online system for easing the process of mutation.
Opposition criticises budget
Calling the North Corporation’s budget a big disappointment, the leader of opposition, Mukesh Goel said, “There was nothing new in the budget. Commissioner just repeated the projects in pipeline that began three to four years back. Unfortunately, he didn’t bother to give any deadline for completion of these projects.”
According to him, there is no deadline given for completion of Rani Jhansi Grade Separator and Kishangarh rail under bridge. “Also the pension for senior citizen is pending for 27 months,” said Goel.
North Delhi Municipal corporation commissioner PK Gupta announced a Rs 7,199.81crore budget of the civic body on Monday. Here are the key points of the budget:
-22% (same as last year) of the total budget announced will be used for sanitation
-13% (down by 6%) to be used for education
-11% (down by 3%) to be used for health
-Bio-methane plants to be established at Bhalswa and Kharida diaries
-Bawana waste-to-energy plant to open later this month
-Door to door garbage collection to start next month
-290 toilet blocks to be constructed
-Conversion of 1.92 lakh streetlights and 12,000 semi-half mast lights to LED by 2018
-Call centre for garbage-related complaints
-Web application to take complaints on illegal construction