Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation
HYDERABAD: With an eye on the upcoming Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections, the standing committee of the civic body has decided to waive property tax up to Rs 4,000 per annum for residential properties, a move that has stunned political parties.
The waiver, if approved by the government, means that over 8 lakh property tax payers, of the total 13.5 lakh, need not pay tax, and the municipal corporation would lose close to Rs 150 crore revenue per year.
The government is likely to issue a GO, while the standing committee members said they were hopeful of getting a clear ance from the state govern ment as it benefits middle class, lower-middle class and the poor in the Greater Hyderabad region. Mayor 7 Mohd Ma jid Hussain, who is the chairman of the standing committee, said the tax waiver would be applicable to only residential properties for the current year (2014-15) and not on arrears. He said though the civic body would have to bear an additional burden, the decision was taken in the interest of the people. The standing committee has directed the GHMC commissioner to prepare proposals for the waiver scheme and bring them before the GHMC general council meeting for another resolution, before the same is sent to the state government for clearance in a week's time.
Standing committee members were of the opinion that the waiver burden of Rs 150 crore can be recovered by bringing unauthorized and unassessed properties into the tax net. The GHMC has already come to the conclusion, after conducting intensive household survey a couple of months ago, that over five to six lakh properties were still to be assessed for taxes. Members reportedly said that some commercial properties have been paying less tax (under-assessed) and their tax needed to be revised.
Analysts say the standing committee has taken this decision in view of the GHMC elections. The tenure of the present council ends in the first week of December and the state government is likely to conduct elections any time next year.
"Now the TRS government has no option but to give consent to the resolution adopted by the GHMC standing committee. The proposal was moved by the mayor, who belongs to MIM, and both MIM and TRS are likely to align and contest the GHMC elections," an analyst said.
Interestingly, GHMC commissioner Somesh Kumar held a review meeting on property tax collection on Thursday and asked officials to improve the corporation's revenue.