At this village, pay tax, get grains ground for free | india | Hindustan Times
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At this village, pay tax, get grains ground for free

india Updated: Feb 13, 2011 01:39 IST
Sayli Udas Mankikar
Sayli Udas Mankikar
Hindustan Times

- If you pay your taxes on time, you can get your grains ground in the village flour mill for the entire year for free
- If you have a daughter, you will get an incentive of Rs 1,000, and the amount increases if you have two daughters, as a part of a family planning initiative
- You have to get your house officially registered in the name of both spouses.

These are not instructions on some government manual but actual incentives and objectives being implemented at Patavada village, 150km from Mumbai.

The village is soon expected to get the ‘model village’ tag under the state government's eco-village scheme.

As part of the three-year eco-village scheme, Patavad, which has a population of around 4,000, also maintains birth and death registry.

Each house has a toilet and children taught to use washbasins to maintain hygiene. Moreover each member of every family has planted a tree in his or her name.

“Our village was on the forefront of the state programme of being open defecation-free,” said Bhaskar Shahdev, a villager who has been on the forefront of the scheme's implementation.

Recounting the filth and garbage in the village few years ago, Shahdev said: “It was very bad. Everyone use to defecate in the open and throw garbage outside houses. It was difficult to change mindsets.”

But the panchayat members set an example by building toilets in their own homes first.

But the most challenging task was collection of taxes, which was necessary if Patavade had to benefit from the scheme.

“For our village to get the benefit of Rs 3 lakh per year according to the population, we needed to have 60% tax collections. It was then we came up with the flour mill idea,” said Shahdev.

A village is allowed to use 10% of its tax collection proceeds - in Patavade's case it was Rs 60,000 of the total Rs 6 lakh - into tax collection schemes.

Patavada villagers used this proceeds to set up a flour mill and now allows villagers who pay taxes on time free services for a year.

“We used the people’s money to benefit them," he said.