Octroi, tax reforms by BMC to mop up revenue

Written by Prachi Karnik Pradhan | Mumbai | Updated: Feb 11 2008, 05:31am hrs
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has initiated reforms in the octroi and tax assessment departments to mop up its revenue earnings. With the budgetary estimates of Rs 16,792.77 crore for the 2008-09 fiscal, the BMC estimates net collections from octroi at Rs 4,525 crore (44% of its total revenue income) and property tax at Rs 2,059.62 crore (20%), according to municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak.

Phatak told FE that the civic body proposed to construct an entrance gate at Dahisar check naka, the entry point to Greater Mumbai. With a view to providing impetus to the textile, garment and hosiery industries and to prevent them from moving out of the city, BMC proposed to exempt the levy of octroi on garments and textiles from the 2008-09 fiscal.

On property tax, Phatak said BMC was conducting a detailed survey of properties in Mumbai. "To locate each and every property in Mumbai and to have quick access to a variety of information, including the user of the property, the age of property, the BMC may carry out a detailed property survey and maintain records on a (Geographic Information System) GIS platform," he added.

He said a private agency would be roped in to conduct the survey for which the BMC had already made a budgetary provision of Rs 18 crore.

To encourage Mumbaikars to pay their taxes on time, the BMC has decided to offer incentive to 'Early Birds', said Phatak. He said, "Property taxes are payable in advance in half-yearly instalments on the first day of April and October."

This apart, it has been decided to introduce a 'Taxpayers' Welfare Fund' and operate a 'Welfare Scheme' for taxpayers. The new scheme would be on the similar lines of the Personal Accident Insurance cover earlier offered by the civic body to regular taxpayers, Phatak said.

Similarly, the BMC is awaiting a clearance from the Maharashtra government on its proposal for creation of additional courts especially for suburban Mumbai for the expeditious disposal of appeals relating to property tax disputes, Phatak added.