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Move to hike property tax in AP draws flak

THE decision of the State Government to revise property tax based on capital value instead of annual rental value in the municipal areas at a time when all sections of the people are hard hit by Covid-19 pandemic has attracted wide condemnation from various quarters.

Move to hike property tax in AP draws flak
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Move to hike property tax in AP draws flak

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Visakhapatnam: THE decision of the State Government to revise property tax based on capital value instead of annual rental value in the municipal areas at a time when all sections of the people are hard hit by Covid-19 pandemic has attracted wide condemnation from various quarters.

The government issued a GO Ms. No. 198 by the Department of Municipal Administration and Urban Development on June 11, 2020 to change the system of levying of property tax from annual rental value basis (ARV System) to capital value (CV) system. The GO said in pursuance of the amendments, the Commissioner and Director of Municipal Administration, Guntur has proposed necessary draft rules called "Rules for Levy and Assessment of Property Tax" in supersession of the Rules issued in GO Ms. No.438, HMA&UD, dated 29-10-1990 and G.O.Ms.No.439, MA&UD (TC) Dept., dated 29-10-1990 applicable to all the

Urban Local Bodies (Nagara Panchayats, Municipalities and Municipal Corporations.

All the opposition parties including Telugu Desam severely decried the decision and timing for mobilising more from property tax with retrospective effect from April 1, 2021.

"This is undemocratic and anti-people," CPI (M) Greater Visakha Council secretary and 78th ward corporator M Ganga Rao said. He told Bizz Buzz that in Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation area, the largest urban civic body in Andhra Pradesh, the government has plans to increase income from property tax from Rs 400 crore by a whopping Rs 700 crore. Across Andhra Pradesh, the target is to enhance revenue by Rs 5,000 crore, he alleged.

Dr Rao said if the people allow the government to go ahead with such exercise, property tax would go up every year as and when capital value of land and immovable properties is revised. For commercial properties, the increase would be very high.

Federation for Development of North Andhra general secretary A Aja Sarma said they would drum up public support for withdrawal of the exercise. If such a hike is allowed, it will further lead to an increase in rentals and make buying a property unaffordable for the middle classes.

At a roundtable held here on Wednesday, CPI State assistant secretary JV Satyanarayana Murthy and representatives from Congress, Jana Sena and other organisations strongly decried the proposal to increase property tax and impose heavy penalties on defaulters for non-payment on time.

Visakhapatnam Apartment Residents' Welfare Association (VARWA) general secretary BB Ganesh and president N Prakash Rao said imposition of property tax and provision of civil services fall under the jurisdiction of the local bodies. Amending the rules pertaining to imposition of property tax by the State and Central Governments is nothing but grabbing the rights of the local bodies. A new Council of GVMC with 98 corporators was formed after which the Mayor was elected unanimously on March 18.

"Notification by the Commissioner ignoring the council and Mayor is undemocratic and illegal and tantamount to insulting the elected body," they pointed out threatening to seek justice from the judiciary.

"We, therefore, demand of the Commissioner to immediately withdraw the illegal and undemocratic notification leading to heavy burdens on the people," the VARWA office-bearers said.

GVMC which collected revenue of Rs.285 crore during 2020-21, has set a target to realise Rs.450 crore during the current fiscal from property tax. The annual budget for GVMC for the current fiscal is Rs 4,200 crore.

Santosh Patnaik
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