Large chunk of properties yet to be included in tax net: CAG

Large chunk of properties yet to be included in tax net: CAG
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India, in its report, has observed that in the absence of a detailed survey by urban local bodies, thousands of properties have remained out of the tax net in the state.

The report on ‘Local Bodies’ for the year ended March 2016, was tabled in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday. It said improper maintenance of property registers/demand collection and balance registers and failure of urban local bodies (ULBs) to comply with the provisions led to evasion and default in payment of tax.

Against the total demand of Rs 521.53 crore in 24 test-checked ULBs, the collection during 2013-14 to 2015-16 was Rs 488.19 crore. A sum of Rs 33.34 crore is yet to be collected.

According to the database of the Municipal Reforms Cell, the number of properties which remained unassessed for 2015-16 stood at 3,90,651 (38%) in 23 ULBs. Failure to revise tax rates periodically, not adopting the current market value for taxation and non-levy of penalty on unlawful buildings and short payment of tax resulted in loss of revenue.

The report said non-finalisation of rates of tax to be collected on telecommunication towers despite amending the relevant Acts in 2015 resulted in loss of revenue to the extent of Rs 1.43 crore per year in select 18 ULBs.

The audit observed that the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP), which aims to provide adequate safe water for every rural person, had various shortcomings.

There were delays ranging from 6 to 10 months in submission of annual action plans to the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. As many as seven projects remained incomplete as they were taken up without ensuring the sustainability of the water source and availability of land.

Against the target of providing 55 litres per capita, per day of water to 50% of the rural population, the state government could provide water to only 14% of the population. Though the state’s achievement in improving the quality of water in affected habitations was appreciable, the number of habitations that slipped back to categories of lesser coverage increased, the report said. 
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