The Covid-19 pandemic has not only affected private firms, but also the Surat Municipal Corporation as the income of the civic body through professional tax has gone down to Rs 33.63 crore between April and September, 2020.
Due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown imposed in March, firms, offices and business establishments were shut for four months and later reopened at a gradual pace with limited staffers following Unlock-1 and Unlock 2.
The pandemic had led people into economic crises as several of them lost jobs even as others had to make do with steep cuts in their salaries. With downfall in business observed, the pandemic also affected SMC in terms of income availed through professional tax from private firms and diamond and textile industries.
The professional tax income received by the SMC between April and September, 2020, is Rs 52.80 crore, against Rs 80.43 crore in the same period last year. Until September 2019, 49,915 employees had paid professional tax to the SMC, while this year, the number has gone down to 29,880 employees. Sources in the SMC accounts department said that the total income through professional tax was Rs 148 crore last year.
In 2020, the income through professional tax from textile and diamond industries is Rs 7.50 crore from Varachha A zone (against Rs 12.59 crore last year); Rs 1.35 crore from Varachha B zone (against Rs 4.30 crore in 2019); Rs 7.03 crore from Katargam zone (Rs 12.62 crore in 2019); Rs 9.53 crore from Udhna zone (17.73 crore in 2019) and Rs 6.31 crore from Limbayat zone (Rs 10.49 crore in 2019).
Sources in the diamond industry said that there are over six lakh diamond polishers on an average working in various units across Surat city. The textile industry has also been struggling to regain its momentum as over 12 lakh textile labourers had left Surat and returned to their native places in Odisha, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand during the lockdown. The majority of these workers are still returning to Surat via special trains run by the government.
SMC Deputy Commissioner Ashish Naik said, “This year, the professional tax income has gone down to Rs 33.63 crore due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to the lockdown, malls, cinema halls and other commercial complexes were shut and hotels’ business had also gone down. Slowly, textile workers have started coming to Surat and we hope that once the textile and diamond industry will regain their momentum, we will get a few more crores by the end of the financial year.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines