Hyderabad: The municipal administration and urban development department has quietly released a government order extending the one-time settlement scheme (OTS) for property tax payers, even as the model code of conduct (MCC) is in place for the MLC polls in nine districts.
The government had ordered a waiver of 90 per cent accumulated arrears on property tax provided that taxpayers cleared the principal amounts for 2019-20 with 10 per cent of arrear interest.
It had announced that the OTS would apply from August 1 to September 15. The scheme was extended till November prior to the GHMC polls. Now, via GO 207, the government had re-introduced the scheme ahead of the elections to the Mahbubnagar-Ranga Reddy-Hyderabad Legislative Council graduates constituency.
The OTS was introduced by across all 141 urban local bodies (ULBs) including GHMC. Under the scheme, property tax payers were to clear the principal tax amount till 2019-20 in one go, with a 10 per cent interest against accumulated arrears.
Initially, the government introduced the scheme for 45 days from August 1 to September 15. It then extended the deadline to November 15. A total of 1,16,488 citizens availed the scheme during this three-month period. The scheme allowed for the waiver of 90 per cent of accumulated arrears on the interest component of property tax in all the ULBs, including the GHMC.
Despite collecting Rs 1,420 crore till date, which was over Rs 150 crore compared to the same day last year, the MA&UD department has once again re-introduced the scheme. The GHMC also promised that it would take action and ensure that the benefits accrued to all taxpayers who cleared their property tax arrears at one go in fiscal 2020-2021.
The orders even claimed that this was issued with the concurrence of the general administration (elections) department.
Not uttering a word about the poll code, the GHMC said the corporation would require another Rs 500 crore to meet the target of Rs 1,900 crore for the current financial year. “Even if the corporation meets the target in funds collection, it would be helpful only for clearing a part of the pending bills of all infrastructure projects in the city.”
He said the corporation staff would still have to fight for their monthly salaries through the Early Bird 5 per cent rebate scheme in April. "The rebate scheme will help the GHMC thrive until July and the government should explore other options to enhance the revenues," the official added.
The official said that as many 11,14,345 taxpayers have paid Rs 1,420 crore towards property tax. Last year, Rs 1,245 crore was collected by the same day. The lion’s share of payments were manual; 62 per cent; followed by online payment of 53 per cent....