Residents of Delhi have been spared a 5% hike in property tax this year with the legislative wing of the MCD rejecting a proposal for across-the-board hike.
Not only this, to ensure that more development work is carried out in the run up to the municipal elections in 2012, the civic body has increased allocation of funds for roads, sanitation services and streetlights in its budget for the next fiscal.
The chairman of the standing committee of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Yogender Chandolia, formally rejected the proposed tax hike while finalising the budget estimates for 2011-12 at a special meeting on Thursday. Municipal commissioner KS Mehra had proposed the hike in December last year.
In the budget, municipal councillors have also been empowered with an allocation of R2.05 crore for their funds. The councillors will continue to have R50 lakh to spend in their respective wards but an additional R1.55 crore has been allocated to spend on roads, improving sanitation services among others.
An additional R5 crore has been earmarked for on development work in unauthorised colonies in the city.
In standing committee has recommended an increase of R579.20 crore over the R6,364.43 crore expenditure for 2011-12 proposed by the commissioner, taking the total to R6,943.63 crore.
But the ruling BJP had made it clear that the hike will not get a nod and the opposition also spoke against "burdening the residents" further.
Both the parties favour bringing more properties under the tax net to increase revenue for the cash-strapped MCD.
"There are 4,816 properties which are liable to pay R5 lakh tax per year. We can get R712 crore if these properties are targeted. So why should we burden the people unnecessarily," Chandolia said.
The schedule of taxes will remain the same as the last fiscal. However, the MCD has already announced that it will not collect taxes from unauthorised colonies and rural and urban villages and has approved 17% to 28 % hike in toll tax in various categories.
Chandolia also said to cope with demands from councillors with large wards, the mayor's and standing committee chairman's discretionary funds have been increased from Rs 5 crore to Rs 10 crore.