The Telegraph
Friday , May 19 , 2017

Go digital, net more revenue

- Plan to map buildings for holding tax bounty

An aerial view of Bhubaneswar. Picture by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar, May 18: After a record collection of Rs 100.13 crore revenue from various taxes, the civic body has decided to have a digitised database of households for better holding tax collection.

The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation will engage a private company for this purpose. Every household in the city will be assigned a unique property tax index number (UPTIN) to ensure that all holding units are covered by the tax system.

"We have set a target to cross the Rs 70-crore mark in holding tax collection by this financial year. This can be achieved only if we can have a better assessment of the holding units. The processes of holding tax collection and billing will also be strengthened accordingly. After hiring a third party, it would be easier to double-check the assessment process and increase the collection,'' said BMC additional commissioner Alok Kumar Kar.

The civic body has invited proposal from agencies working in the field of assessment, billing and collection of holding tax to get them involved in the process of enhancement of revenue collection. The process will also ensure compliance with the state government's Property Tax Rules, 2016.

The civic body has already done a virtual (geographic information system-based) mapping of all houses in ward No. 55 along with the Odisha Remote Sensing Agency (Orsac). More than 1,400 houses have already been geo-tagged under the process.

In the next phase, the similar geo-tagging will be done for all properties in the Bhubaneswar Town Centre District along Janpath. The BMC, the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) and the Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) will jointly execute the job. "The Bhubaneswar Town Centre District has several major commercial and residential establishments. If we can bring them all into the digitised folder, it would boost the revenue collection from the zone. The virtual mapping process will be extended to other areas of the city in a phase-wise manner," said mayor Ananta Narayan Jena.

A revenue expert of the civic body, who is also in charge of the tax reforms process, said as a first step, residents would be asked to declare details of their properties. "The BMC will scrutinise the declarations on a random basis. If any declaration is found to be false, the person concerned would be penalised without delay," said the expert.

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