Mumbai: BMC under fire for delaying proposal on property tax

Mumbai: The members of the Standing Committee on Wednesday slammed the civic body for not sending the proposal of property tax exemption for houses measuring up to 500 square feet to the state government for further approval.

The proposal was approved and passed in the civic body meeting in July last year, however, BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta did not send the file to state government. The information was brought to the notice of the standing committee by the BJP, which led a heated discussion in the meeting thereafter.

In July, the general body of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) cleared a proposal to waive off property tax for residential houses measuring up to 500 sq ft and to give a 60 per cent concession for houses between 500 sq ft and 700 sq ft, a poll promise by the Shiv Sena ahead of the civic elections.

Therefore, after approval from the civic house which comprises of 227 corporators, it was expected that it will be forwarded to the state government to make necessary changes in the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act 1988 for implementation of the proposal.

Meanwhile, BJP corporator Manoj Kotak insisted the administration to move the file immediately. He also insisted that instead of tax exemption on houses measuring up to 500 sq ft – the demand of Shiv Sena – BMC should ask exemption up to 700 sq.ft as demanded by the BJP.

Kotak added that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis himself in the Maharashtra assembly showed willingness on tax exemption on houses measuring up to 700 sq.ft, therefore it should be considered accordingly. In addition, with the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) last year, the BMC had to do away with Octroi, one of its primary sources of revenue.

However, it has received Rs 5,180 crore from the government as compensation recently. In addition, if the current proposal of property tax exemption is passed, the BMC will incur loss of approximately Rs 500 cr per year. With the loss of revenue, the BMC will have to look at other avenues to fund major infrastructure projects for the city.

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