BBMP looks to sky to shore up property tax collection

The BBMP will use ISRO's Bhuvan software application to improve its Geographical Information System (GIS) data. FREEPIK

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is looking up at the sky, literally, to shore up its flagging property tax collection. 

Starting next year, the civic body will use satellite imagery to map property data with the help of Bhuvan, the Indian Space Research Organisation's software application that allows users to explore a 2D/3D representation of the surface of the earth. The BBMP had signed up a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with ISRO in 2016 to provide the software application for improving its Geographical Information System (GIS) data. 

A source in the BBMP said: "ISRO recently conducted training sessions for us. Satellite imagery will be captured for analysing property tax data." 

An official working closely on the project said that the focus right now was on integrating the BBMP's property tax data with Bhuvan. "The applications of the technology and data into the specific areas will be taken up in due course depending on the functional feasibility of technology with the nature of the data available," he added. "The clear satellite imagery will help the BBMP check violations that property owners have done." 

BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad, however, dismissed a media report that the satellite imagery would be used to identify potholes and other civic problems. "We, along with ISRO, are working on the technology to identify properties in the city. There is no way we'll use this technology to identify potholes and other civic issues. That's just a figment of someone's imagination," he told DH

Property tax is the BBMP's only major source of revenue but the civic body has been consistently failing in meeting the target. In the last fiscal year, it collected just Rs 1,665 crore, as against the target of Rs 2,600 crore from an estimated 16 lakh properties in the city. 

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