Property tax: existing system to continue

BANGALORE: The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), which had earlier planned a uniform taxation system for the city, has now decided to continue with the existing system based on Self-Assessment Scheme in old areas and Capital Value-Based Scheme in the new ones.

Addressing presspersons after the budget presentation here on Friday, BBMP Commissioner K. Jairaj said this was because the civic body had to work out modalities of "harmonising the taxation system".

Whether the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (KMC) Act provided for separate modes of taxation, Mr. Jairaj said he had appealed to the Government to allow the civic body to continue with the existing system for the time being.

Defending the introduction of several levies, he said there is a need to mobilise revenue to meet the demands of a larger city. "There has been media criticism about budget proposals remaining only on paper. So we have chosen the doables this year. The mandate is to complete ongoing works before taking up new ones," he said.

Refusing to admit that the budget is not pro-poor, Mr. Jairaj said: "We have several welfare measures for the urban poor, including group insurance for autorickshaw drivers, provision of iron-boxes for dhobis (washermen), musical instruments for nadaswaram players and training for slum youths in the field of electricians, plumbers and gardeners."

Small multi-purpose centres with provision for a milk booth, janata bazaar and HOPCOMS will be set up in 100 slums, he said.

Culture

To foster theatre, culture and sports, the budget proposes to set up a department for culture and sports. "This is to ensure that the BBMP does its bit to preserve the city's culture. We plan to have several activities through this department. All unused stadia and playgrounds will be put to use and sports facilities in our schools will be improved," he said.

The annual allocation for stray dog management programme has been increased from Rs. 1.5 crore to Rs. 4 crore this year. The Animal Birth Control programme will be extended to the new areas and a Ahmedabad-based non-governmental organisation headed by Rahul Saigal has been entrusted with a pilot project to trap, neuter and release 1,000 dogs in each of the new zones. Based on the success, this project will be extended to all the areas, Mr. Jairaj said.

New dog pounds are being set up and more officials from the Animal Husbandry Department are being deputed at the BBMP to tackle the menace.

Funds for Mayor

Although the Government is yet to announce elections to the BBMP Council, the budget has set aside Rs. 24 crore for the Mayor's discretionary quota.

While Rs. 5 lakh has been allocated towards travelling expenses of the Mayor, Rs. 2 lakh has been set aside for the Deputy Mayor.

The process of conducting elections and forming the council may take more than eight months. But the budget has set aside Rs. 10 lakh towards the Council meeting expenses. While Rs. 3.05 crore has been allocated for medical relief grants to be sanctioned by the Mayor, Rs. 40 lakh has been earmarked for study tour of the corporators.

Substantial allocations have also been made for medical insurance to former corporators, honorarium, telephone charges and sitting fees of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and other elected representatives.

Lakes

The BBMP has proposed to take over all the major tanks and lakes from Minor Irrigation, Lake Development Authority and other public agencies. This is "to give a unified thrust towards conservation of the lakes in the city".

In the Greater Bangalore areas, the BBMP proposes to take up the development of 14 lakes, including the Rachenahalli, the Puttenahalli, the Allalasandra, the Jakkur, the Dasarahalli and the Sarakki lakes. A sum of Rs. 10 crore has been set aside for putting up fences around these lakes and other parks and public properties.

Water supply

A sum of Rs. 42 crore has been set aside to mitigate the water scarcity in the new areas. This is in addition to the Government's allocation of Rs. 98 crore for improving drinking water facility in 110 villages.

Rainwater harvesting measures have been proposed in all open places and parks of BBMP.

Source: The Hindu-Saturday, Mar 31, 2007
Visit www.mybangaloreproperty.com for Bangalore Property