Defaulting govt buildings, lack of manpower add to JMC’s tax owesjaipur Updated: Feb 20, 2017 20:17 IST
A satellite-based imagery of Jaipur had recently revealed that the Jaipur civic body collects only 5% to 20% of its potential property taxes. (HT Photo)
The Jaipur Municipal Corporation (JMC) faces ₹700-crore tax default – government buildings owing a bulk of the dues -- even as the mayor blamed flaws in the property tax structure and lack of manpower for a low collection.
“Currently the JMC taxes residential buildings which are above 300 square yards, and for commercial buildings, the condition is that they should be above 100 yards. Unlike other local bodies, such as of Hyderabad, this makes most of the buildings in the city tax free, and thus kills potential revenue sources,” mayor Ashok Lahoti told HT on Monday.
The annual tax revenue for the JMC stands at ₹150 crore compared to ₹1,700 crore for the Hyderabad civic body and ₹5,000 crore for Pune’s, he said.
After its general body meeting on February 9, the JMC served notices to tax defaulters. On Saturday, it sealed five properties which had defaulted on tax worth ₹2.8 crore since 2007. The properties are Vardhman Complex in Johari Bazar, Khandelwal Senior Secondary School, Surajpol, Vidhyadhar Ka Bag, Agra Road, Cambay gold resort, Jamdoli and Krishi Upaj Mandi Samiti, Surajpol.
The JMC also decided to disconnect sewerage connections to households that do not deposit the outstanding tax within 7 days, prompting the state human rights commission to intervene.
Terming the decision a violation of basic rights, the commission wrote to the JMC, asking how it could deny basic amenities, such as sewerage, to the public. The rights body also said the civic body’s revenue officers are not competent in collection.
“At present we have 8-9 revenue officers whose duty is to collect the tax money from across 8 zones but we require around 50 officers. The JMC’s enforcement team also lacks manpower,” Lahoti said.
Outstanding tax money has affected the civic body’s day-to-day activities. Many temporary sanitation workers went on an indefinite strike from Monday because they have not received their pay.
Many government buildings, including the Jaipur Development Authority and the Rajasthan State Electricity Board, owe tax to the JMC. “Of the outstanding ₹700 crore, around ₹300 crore is due from government departments. As residents, it is our collective responsibility to pay taxes so that other basic services don’t suffer,” Lahoti said.
A satellite-based imagery of Jaipur had recently revealed that the city collects only 5% to 20% of its potential property taxes and has the scope of increasing its revenue collection manifold by making use of technology.
The data analysis was part of a chapter on urbanisation published in the recent Economic Survey of the union finance ministry.