Says it’ll increase tax collection from all existing units
New Delhi, Feb. 10 (Delhi Crown): Despite facing a financial crunch, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) rejected the proposal to hike property tax on Thursday while presenting the Budget for the Year 2022-23.
The obvious reason for the decision is the approaching MCD elections, slated to be held in mid-April, most probably on April 17 (Sunday).
This was the last Budget of the SDMC, as the current House completes its term in the third week of April.
Inadequate funds have been a bone of contention between the three MCDs, which are ruled by the BJP, and the Delhi Government ruled by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). While the BJP has been complaining about the AAP-ruled Delhi Government’s step-motherly treatment towards the MCDs in not releasing the funds, the AAP maintains that five years ago the BJP had promised to the people of Delhi that it will “manage” to get funds directly from the Central Government, which is also ruled by the BJP.
During its day-long meeting, the SDMC on Thursday rejected the proposal to increase property tax rates.
SDMC’s Leader of the House Indrajeet Sehrawat (BJP) said that the decision will not affect the civic body’s estimated expenditure which stands at Rs. 4,830.57.
However, according to a senior SDMC official, the decision to do away with tax hikes is likely to affect the estimates with property tax being the civic body’s “primary source” of internal revenue.
The official added – “At the end, all new works will suffer. The expected fund from the Delhi government has not been received in the last two years. The COVID-19 pandemic has delivered another financial blow. No new projects have come up and development works are at a standstill.”
Sehrawat said – “We aim to increase the property tax collection from all the existing units. There is no need to increase rates. At least 4.5 lakh people are paying tax out of 20 lakh units under the SDMC. We need to ensure that the remaining people pay their taxes.”
He further stated that no figures were immediately available on the collection till date.
Meanwhile, according to media reports, with the elections approaching, the civic body now looks to regularise the appointments of 1,130 field workers and 1,155 DBC (dengue breeding checking) workers while development works in 1,731 colonies have been proposed with the idea of providing a fund of Rs. 50 lakhs to the respective councillors.
The SDMC Budget also proposed to increase the allocations for moral education from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 25 lakh in its primary schools, and give bicycles to 10 meritorious students (five girls & five boys) of Class 3.
AAP slams BJP-ruled SDMC for failing in tax collection
SDMC’s Leader of the Opposition Prem Chauhan, of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), said that the BJP-led civic body is “unable” to collect taxes from “at least 50% of the properties”.
He said – “We are not counting unauthorised colonies because they should not be taxed. There is a need to fix the system of tax collection because it is currently haywire due to corrupt practices. The tax collection target should be increased and they should ensure complete collection. Unauthorised colonies should not be taxed unless they are provided with proper facilities to begin with.”
The LoP also slammed the SDMC Budget for not having any proposals for the welfare of the employees, steps to curb corruption, and also not carrying any mention of the projects announced in the previous years.