Despite drones, inspectors, Lucknow civic body's house tax collection dismal

Despite drones, inspectors, Lucknow civic body's house tax collection dismal


LMC's ambition to collect more than Rs 250 crore in-house tax this financial year has fallen flat on face with just two-and-half months left in hand and the corporation still managing about half of the collection target. Compared to the last year's total tax collection of about Rs 192 crore, LMC has been able to collect about Rs 125 crore till date. This is despite the fact that LMC had hired drones to for correct assessment of taxable properties and recruited 45 additional revenue inspectors to help in the process.

The recent tax review meeting suggested that LMC's collection status was way less in April-December 2017 compared to the same period in the previous year. Almost 40% of the pending cases are those where people are contesting the LMC’s assessed tax amount or have taken legal recourse. There are many cases where even government agencies have not cleared their payments.

LMC has around 5 lakh properties in tax net of which only 50% pay taxes regularly. Its biggest worry is that around one lakh properties are still left out of its tax ambit. These are mostly in the outskirts and private colonies which have come later in the municipal jurisdiction.

LMC had hired drones in August last year to survey six localities on pilot basis to click real time pictures of the house, location, its room's dimensions, road width etc., to cover them in the tax net. The move was taken to ensure correct assessment of tax by analyzing the photographs clicked by drones.

LMC had also hired 45 revenue inspectors in 2017 to help in collection process but even that could not bear results. It even tied up with a private bank to send reminders to defaulters. LMC's online portal for tax submission is still struggling to work smoothly.

Additional Municipal Commissioner PK Srivastava said, "We have increased our footfall at the defaulter's houses to remind them of the pending payment. Though our collection status is poor, we aim to touch at least last year's target by March 31."

Priyanka Singh, Economic Times, Lucknow