South says no to loans, new taxes

Unlike north and east, the budget of South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) reflects the policy decisions of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In the budget proposal for 2013-14, the commissioner has completely followed the directions of BJP to outrightly reject loans from Delhi government and increase revenue from their own resources, without any tax hike or levying any new tax. In his zero deficit budget, the commissioner also proposed to make the corporation debt free by 2017-18.

‘We will launch ‘Mission Sampoorn’ to bring all the properties of SDMC in the property tax net within two years, which will increase revenue from property tax collection from present Rs 581 crore to Rs 1,500 crore by 2014-15,’ said Manish Gupta, Commissioner of SDMC, in his budget speech on Friday.

Presenting his 3 R formula – Reform, Recovery and Rationalisation – to increase property tax collection, the commissioner also allocated Rs 10 crore to improve the structure of property tax collection and announced construction of four Air-conditioned property tax offices, upgrade of all offices, along with hiring a private company for physical verification of data about 14.91 lakh properties provided by Geospatial Delhi Ltd (GSDL).

‘In the Mission Sampoorn, all properties in the SDMC area will be provided Unique Property Identification Code to facilitate tax recovery,’ added the commissioner. According to the data with SDMC, only 4.25 lakh of over 14.91 lakh properties in the area are paying the tax.

‘We will raise revenue from our own resources and never ask for loan from Delhi government under any head and pay all the liabilities of debt within five years,’ said Gupta.

‘Our interest liabilities are almost equal to planned loan obtained by Delhi government. If we stop begging for loans, we are actually stopping paying interest for those loans and thus the corporation will get the credit for its development schemes,’ added Gupta. According to the records, Delhi government sanctioned Rs 803.10 crore loan, for which the civic body had to bear a burden of Rs 334 crore.

The commissioner also emphasised on tax collection on untapped resources of outdoor advertisement by making the policy consumer-friendly and launching ‘zero tolerance campaign’ for illegal advertisement in its area.

‘As the rates of outdoor advertisement were not revised for the last five years, I propose 25 per cent increase,’ added the commissioner.

The commissioner also emphasised on recovery of more revenue by bringing non-tax payers in the tax net of trade license, health license, and traditional schemes of the corporation.

The ruling BJP has lauded the budget proposal of the commissioner.

‘We are committed to provide world class services to our citizens without any tax hike or imposition of new taxes and make the corporation debt free and self reliance,’ said Rajesh Gehlot, Chairman of the Standing Committee, SDMC.
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