At a time, when the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is strapped for funds thanks to covid19 pandemic, it has been unduly sluggish in collecting property tax dues owing to lockdown restrictions the biggest factor.
As the BMC will unveil its budget outlay today, The Free Press Journal has learned that with less than two months left for the end of the current fiscal, the civic body is staring at a shortfall of Rs 1,405 crore in property tax collections, compared to the yield last fiscal.
According to figures collated till February 2, 2021 the civic body had managed to collect only Rs 1,473 crores as property Tax collection. Last year the civic body collected Rs 2,878 crores till February 2, 2020 as against its target of Rs 5,100 crore. Similarly the civic body managed to collect Rs 3,528 crore as property tax during the same period.
Property tax collection is the biggest revenue for the Mumbai civic body since its its prime source of revenue since the scrapping of octroi in July 2017. During the budget 2020-21 the civic body has set a target of Rs 6,788.58 crore for property tax collection for the fiscal. However owing to the covid 29 crisis that hit the city, the target was kept aside for now.
The financial crunch prompted the civic body to dip into its reserved funds and the civic body is even looking at an option of issuing municipal bond to fund various infra-projects.
A senior officer from the Tax Assessment and Collection Department said, "The BMC will find it a struggle to close the revenue gap in less than two months. Given our past experience, it is not possible to generate more than 20 percent of the estimated revenue target in the last couple of months. We will have to focus on tax collections and take austerity steps to save money, the measures have already begun.”
The effect of this shortfall in collection will be seen in the civic budget 2021-22, which will be presented today afternoon, sources in the BMC said.
As the civic body has suffered fall in its revenue, this could lead to a slash in capital expenditure on budgetary provisions for many departments this year, sources said.