Playing its ‘Marathi manoos’ card once again, the Shiv Sena, which rules the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), has decided to further extend the exemption granted to tenants in houses smaller than 500 sq ft from paying property taxes based on the capital value of their flats.
While the rest of the city has been levied property tax through the capital value-based system since 2010, eight lakh tenants in these smaller homes had been exempted in 2010 and were permitted to continue paying under the old rateable value-based system. Rateable value is the notional rent that a property can command.
With rents frozen in South Mumbai owing to the Rent Control law, the property tax that residents pay has been kept artificially low.
The revised rules for property tax 2015-20 were passed by the elected body of the civic corporation on Friday but while the administration sought to bring these eight lakh homes into the ambit of the capital value-based system as their five-year exemption period will soon come to an end, the Shiv Sena intervened to protect these flat-owners.
The tax norms would now be sent to the state government for an approval, an official said. The amendment moved by the Sena was supported by all political parties in the corporation.
This amendment will benefit residents living in some of Mumbai’s oldest residential areas, including the century-old Bombay Development Directorate (BDD) Chawls, Kalbadevi, Girgaum, Mohammed Ali Road, Bhuleshwar and other areas. The BMC had estimated an additional revenue of Rs 150 crore from the new segment.
Trushna Vishwasrao, leader of the house, said, “When the earlier government introduced the new system, we fought for these people and exempted them from higher taxes for five years. Since most of the citizens living in these areas are Maharashtrians, our demand is for permanent exemption. We will also be writing to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on the issue.”
A senior civic official from assessment and collection department of the BMC said, “The rule stipulates that citizens be brought under the new system after five years. Therefore, we have to send the proposal to the state government to amend the rules.”