BENGALURU: Despite its modest targets, BBMP has not been able to achieve its property tax collection targets in the last six financial years.
As per a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, the civic body’s collection between 2011 and 2016 is between 53 and 76 per cent of the targets. Also, there has been a rise in software glitches and this raises the question of whether the payment mechanism contributes to the fall in tax collection. A member of Citizens Action Forum, Vijay Menon, has never experienced any problem with online payment of property tax. He, however, said that he does not expect the BBMP’s staff to be as technically efficient as they lack proper training.
Stressing on the lack of use of technology, he said, “We have heard so much about properties being geo-tagged. So nothing short of 100 per cent collection is acceptable. Many properties haven’t even been registered or (the owners) have given incorrect details. Secondly, a lot of people have paid lower amounts and have escaped by conniving with the local authorities.”
Menon suggested that the data should be made available in the public domain.
Former Law minister and BJP MLA S Suresh Kumar said the faults in the bills generated have a direct bearing on tax collection as even those wanting to pay are unable to. He said, “Though the assistant revenue officers have been given login IDs, at times they are unable to use it due to some issue. It is unfortunate that this is happening in an IT-savvy city like Bengaluru.”
Senior manager for advocacy at the NGO Janaagraha, Anil Nair, blames the shortfall on lack of a robust process of tax collection and staff shortage. He says it is the same story with every major city.
As per the Economic Survey by the Union government, the collection ranges from 20-30 per cent of its potential (not target) for every major corporation except Mumbai.
“Mumbai has always done well due to its economic activity, high property rates, stabilised corporation area and also because it is equipped with three to four times the staff that Bengaluru has,” he noted.
Nair said Bengaluru could take a leaf out of Ranchi corporation’s book which had benefitted by outsourcing its revenue collection process to a private firm. “The firm even does door-to-door collection,” he said.