Although he defended the decision to impose the proposed capital value based property tax system on every slum in Mumbai, joint municipal commissioner SS Shinde agreed that activists opposing it had a point.
Why have you decided to tax even slums which are not acknowledged in your records officially?
This is not about the legality of the structure. Property tax has to be imposed because, irrespective of the legal status, the structure is being used.
Most slums do not have even the most basic of civic facilities, like drinking water supply or sewage collection. Is it morally right for the BMC to impose property tax on such slums?
This question is justified from the point of view of slum dwellers, and we will take such questions into consideration while we deliberate on it.
However, the law allows us to tax every structure in the city.
Civic officials privately admit that there are various practical problems in collecting these taxes from slums.
That’s true. For instance, we seize and auction properties of regular property tax defaulters.
How can we do that for slums, which stand on government land?
Also, the assessment of many slums in terms of the new capital value system has to happen.
Hence, unless that happens, imposing taxes on these structures will not be possible.