The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation at its general body meeting on Thursday passed the proposal mooted by the Shiv Sena to waive property tax for residential buildings measuring up to 500 square feet and give a 60 per cent concession for houses measuring 500 square feet to 700 square feet.
Sena leaders said the waiver and the concession would come into retrospective effect from April 2015. Yashwant Jadhav, senior Sena corporator and Leader of the House who moved a notice of motion, said: “In March 2015, a proposal for fixing the property tax rates was passed with an amendment of excluding the houses up to 500 square feet for a period from 2015 to 2020. But it has not been implemented by the civic administration so far. So, I had demanded the property tax waiver from 2015 referring to the old proposal.
The same was passed at the general body meeting on Thursday.” He said the proposal would now be sent to the state government to make an amendment to the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act 1888. Jadhav claimed that the waiver and the concession would not be for five years only.
“Once the state government makes the amendment, it will immediately come into effect and we will continue with the relief,” he said, adding: “Ideally, the property tax amount paid by the citizens from 2015 onwards should be returned to them. Otherwise, the civic administration should adjust that amount with other taxes such as water, etc.” Jadhav said the waiver and the concession were required as people living in such houses were usually relocated from slums. “It becomes difficult for them to pay property tax. As a result, many of them are forced to move out of the city. So, this proposal is in larger interest of residents,” he added.
According to a senior BMC official, about 15 lakh houses belong to the “upto 500 square feet” category, which will get complete property tax waiver, while about 2 lakh houses will be eligible for the 60 per cent concession. “If the state makes the amendments, the civic body will incur revenue loss of approximately Rs 500 crore per year. It is difficult to say anything on returning the tax amount from 2015. The state government has to take a call on that,” said an official attached with the BMC’s assessment and collection department that deals with property tax.
During the civic body polls held earlier this year, the Shiv Sena had promised to waive the property tax and give concessions for houses. At the party’s 51st anniversary event, Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said the proposal would be passed by the civic body before the monsoon session of the legislature.