213 ULBs failed to collect property tax arrears, says CAG

As many as 213 urban local bodies (ULBs) including Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) have failed to collect property tax arrears in the recent years.

As per the Comptroller and Auditor General report on local bodies, the arrears in collection of property tax increased from Rs 139.38 crore in 2009-10 to Rs 189.41 crore in 2013-14.
In BBMP, property tax collection target was not achieved in any of the years during 2009-14, and in the year 2013-14, the percentage of property tax collection was only 53 per cent against the target.

The five test checked urban local bodies - Mysuru City Corporation, Shahabad City Municipal Council, and town municipal councils of Aland, Hunsur and Wadi - arrears in collection of water charges were Rs 89.48 crore. The CAG report was tabled in the legislature on Monday in Belagavi.

The report has said the five local bodies had released Rs 3.53 crore during 2012-13 as advances to external agencies but did not take any action to obtain statement of expenditure along with the unspent amount, if any.

Reflecting further on the manner in which the BBMP functioned, the report said the 13th Finance Commission granted Rs 101.16 crore to the test checked five local bodies during 2010-14. Of these, Rs 34.81 crore (ranging from 11 to 41 pc) was utilised. BBMP had diverted the grants of Rs 44.20 crore for payment of salaries and advances to works not covered.

Suvarna Gramodaya
The CAG report for the year ended March 31, 2014, said the State government’s ‘Suvarna Gramodaya Yojana’ was a failure as the overall development of each village was not achieved.

The yojana was launched by the State government in February 2007 with a view to develop village communities by adopting an intensive and integrated approach to rural development. The aim was to develop 1,000 villages every year through the concentrated efforts of government, non-government organisations, partners from private sector and village communities.

The CAG report contains results of the performance audit and compliance audit of Panchayat Raj institutions and urban local bodies.

The performance audit of the scheme for the period 2009-14 showed that Rural Development and Panchayat Raj department allocated funds in pre-determined percentage for ten different components. There were no parameters and benchmarks of desirable levels to determine when a village would be regarded a developed village. It said planning was inadequate for achieving the goal of overall upgradation of physical environment of selected villages and improvement of the quality of life.

The village development plans were not comprehensive in terms of information contained in them. There was no convergence of other sector programmes for overall development of the village.

The report also mentioned about irregularities in execution of training activities and payment made to Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Limited.

On implementation of total sanitation campaign or ‘Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan,’ the report said the performance audit of the scheme covering the period 2009-14 showed that the scheme was "deprived of institutional support" critical for planning its implementation.

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