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DeMo no help for BMC revenue

Pushpendra Singh Deo

Bhubaneswar, April 20: The demonetisaton of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes last year, which the municipal corporation had thought would help them in terms of revenue generation from taxes, did not benefit the civic body.

Housing and urban development minister Pushpendra Singh Deo said this in the last Assembly session.

The civic body had hoped to achieve its revenue target from holding tax since the government had allowed the payment in scrapped currency notes. However, the final figures reveal a different story.

According to records, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation had set a target to collect Rs 47.68 crore from holding tax, but could only collect Rs 23.89 crore at the end of the financial year. The corporation had collected Rs 25 crore last year against its target of Rs 49 crore.

Replying to a question raised by BJP MLA Dilip Ray, the minister revealed the revenue figures for various urban local bodies, including the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC).

"The BMC had collected Rs 20 crore from holding tax in the three years from 2011 to 2014. In 2014-15, the collection went up to Rs 25 crore and in 2015-16, it again came down to Rs 23.89 lakh," said Singh Deo.

Although the collection was good between November and December last year as compared to the previous years, the final figures were nowhere near the target. According to records, the civic body had collected Rs 49 lakh in November 2015 as holding tax, which jumped to a whopping Rs 2.16 crore after demonetisation.

File picture of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation

"The collection of market rent increased from Rs 2.59 lakh in November last year to Rs 7.92 lakh this year. Similarly, user fees amounted to Rs 6.61 lakh in November and Rs 5.11 lakh in the first 15 days of December last year. But the collection was not good two months after demonetisation," said BMC's finance officer Labanya Sabar.

Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena said they would make all-round efforts to increase tax collection in the current financial year.

"We will analyse and find out the reasons behind the not-so-good revenue collection in the previous fiscal. We have also decided to bring in some reforms in revenue generation this year and hope to rectify our earlier mistakes," said Jena.

Sources said the civic body had decided to implement value-based property tax system in place of holding tax in the city this year and hopes to collect about Rs 137.27 crore from it.

"The housing and urban development department has hired a consultant for implementation of the property tax system in the state. We hope to implement it this year and increase our revenue collection," said the mayor.


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