The Delhi BJP state president and the BJP-ruled South MCD’s leaders are not on the same page on the issue of increasing taxes, it is learnt. The cash-strapped South Corporation introduced a professional tax, hiked property tax on rented commercial properties, and also hiked transfer duty of properties on Monday. These measures should yield an additional revenue of Rs 400 crore annually for the corporation.
Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta had on Sunday tweeted, “I have talked to the mayor of the South MCD and requested to roll back the proposal to increase taxes brought by the corporation. Mayor is ready. Also request Arvind Kejriwal to pay civic bodies as per recommendations of Fourth Finance Commission.”
But on Monday, the corporation went ahead and passed a proposal on the taxes. When contacted, Gupta said, “Taxes have not been increased, professional tax is a proposal, it has not been finalised.” He also said there were plans to levy tax on electricity, which has been shelved.
South civic body mayor Anamika Mithilesh, however, said, “We work on the guidance of the state president… We do not want South MCD to go the way of other MCDs, where staff are not paid for months and hikes are nominal.”
Leader of the house, South MCD, Narender Chawla, said, “The decision was taken after bringing the party into confidence. Adesh ji is himself a former mayor and understands the pain of the corporation and public.”
A senior leader in the civic body said there was pressure from BJP higher-ups not to go ahead with the proposal.
However, the leader said, the South corporation’s finances have reached a point where if the proposal was not cleared, it would have led to a situation where salary of staff would have been delayed for months.
“Somewhere, you have to stop populism. Every year, there is some election. Taxes have not been increased for a decade while the value of properties has increased over a hundred times in many cases,” said the leader.
“There were plans to increase electricity tax as well; as the state leadership is already protesting over the issue, a decision was taken not to increase it,” he said.
A preamble on increasing electricity tax was placed in the house meeting on Monday, but not approved.
Self-employed professionals such as doctors, lawyers and architects, those employed by private firms in South Delhi, and those with office spaces that fall under South MCD, will now have to pay professional tax.
As per the proposal, those earning less than Rs 50,000 a month will not be charged anything; those earning Rs 50,001-Rs 75,000 will be charged Rs 100 per month; those earning Rs 75,001-Rs 1 lakh per month will have to pay Rs 150; and those earning above Rs 1 lakh will be charged Rs 200 a month.
AAP to hold protest today
Senior AAP leader Durgesh Pathak Tuesday said the party will hold a protest against the tax hike by the BJP-ruled SDMC in front of the BJP headquarters on Wednesday. “The problem is not increasing tax but that it has been done at a time when people’s income is down due to Covid. The Corporation should first fix its internal leakages which leads to revenue losses,” he said.
Express News Service
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