BENGALURU: Property tax accounts for two-thirds of BBMP’s revenue. With the number of dwelling units in the city, the civic body should target Rs 5,500-6,000 crore in property tax. But the fact that they are targetting only Rs 2,600 crore means they are underestimating the number of properties.
The problem is two-fold — people’s unwillingness to pay the tax, and the corporation’s lack of use of technology to collect taxes. Not many city corporations have empowered people to pay their taxes like the BBMP has (self-assessment scheme). But it is not just BBMP, the level of technology employed in every government body is very limited.
All government organisations should have a Chief Technology Officer who should be from the private sector. And, by way of enforcement, the BBMP should publish a list of the biggest defaulters and shame them.
There is no reason for the Silicon Valley of India not to have expertise that can be tapped. The Palike can hire IT professionals. The Commissioner can organise payment clinics where citizens’ money is adjusted with this year’s property tax instead of calling them again and again.
At zonal offices, a separate facility for senior citizens can also be made. The BBMP Commissioner has the power to take decisions to ease the suffering of citizens. It is also really unfortunate that officers are asking for bribes. They should be tracked down.
(The writer is a retired IAS officer who also served as BBMP commissioner)