Representational picture
Representational picture

BHOPAL: For initiatives like Lok Adalat and rebates, the tax collection by Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) rose considerably even during the Coronavirus pandemic. Despite suffering financial losses arising due to the depressing Covid scenario period, the honest residents duly paid their taxes and other penalties in 2020. The tax collected by the civic body in 2020 was much more than the previous years. The municipal body also increased its earning through spot fines and penalties during the Covid period.

Assistant commissioner Sandhya Chaturvedi said the tax collection has increased due to the BMC’s initiatives like Lok Adalats and rebates offered on the dues. The Lok Adalats were organised for nearly two months, and people came forward to take advantage of the rebates and paid their taxes and other dues, he added.

In a bid to motivate the taxpayers, the BMC practiced carrot and stick policy. While it organised Lok Adalats, extended rebates on dues, felicitated the honest tax payers and officers, the civic body even publicly shamed its tax collection officials to ensure that the revenue collection shoots up this year despite pandemic.

Even as the civic body could collect less than 30 per cent of the original dues this year, however, the tax collection figures are comforting if data from previous year are taken into consideration. The property tax collection was Rs 115 crore, between April 2020 and January 11, 20201, while the figure stood at Rs 87 crore during the corresponding period last year.  The total property tax collection though remained around 20 per cent of original dues, this year.

Collection on other dues remain below 30%

The civic body failed to meet its target in tax collection under various heads when compared to the original dues. The tax collection in all the heads remained below 30 per cent of the target. Besides property tax, the BMC earns through taxes under different heads including Land building rent, complex/shop rent, water consumer charge, Solid Waste management charge, Hoarding charges, Entertainment tax, Weekly Animal Market/ Tah Bajari/ Asthai Dakhal Bajar Shulk/theka shulk, animal registration charges, parking charges, Trade license fee, Building Permission Fee, Other charges (colony cell), Other charges (spot fine), other charges (Narmada connection), other charges (local levies).

Name-and-shame policy

BMC officers including zonal officials were presented Bournvita health drinks in the hall, after they had failed to get the desired tax collection in their respective zones. To shame them in front of others for their poor performance, the administrator had asked them to take health drinks and gain energy to improve efficiency. Also, in the same event a few zonal officials were felicitated for better recovery of taxes.

Rebate on dues, taxes

The department of urban administration had directed the civic body to offer rebate on penalties in the wake of job loss, unemployment and loss of livelihood triggered by the pandemic in 2020 .There was 100 per cent rebate on penalty over the outstanding dues, for an amount up to Rs 50,000 while there was a rebate of 50 per cent on penalty of up to Rs 1, 00,000. Similarly, there was a rebate of 25 per cent on the penalty amount above Rs 1, 00,000. Besides, the rebate on property tax the BMC also provided a rebate of 50 per cent to the rented properties on amount between Rs 20,000 and Rs 50,000.

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Free Press Journal