Traders may have gone up in arms against the local body tax (LBT), but the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has managed to surpass the amount of entire tax collected in the previous financial year through the newly introduced tax.
According to data provided by the cess department of the NMMC, the civic body has raked in a whopping R 505.44 crore in LBT up to December 2013. This sum is larger than the entire tax collected in the previous financial year i. e. 2012- 13, when authorities collected R 420.61 crores in cess. The LBT was introduced on April 1 last year and was met with huge wave of disapproval from traders and merchants.
The target for this year set by the Cess department is R 855 crore — which means with less than three months to go, they have about R 350 crores to cover. The target for the past financial year was R 500 crore, which the civic body had failed to meet.
Sudhir Cheke, deputy municipal commissioner — cess, told MiD DAY, “ It’s good that we have managed to collect a substantial amount. But, we have written to the state government, asking them to permit us to crack down upon defaulters. We hope to get the same in a fortnight or so, after which, we will begin taking action against those who aren’t paying the LBT.” Besides, it’s important to note that agricultural products, too, have been given exempted from the LBT whereas tax on other items like wine, spirit and industrial items has risen.
Senior officials in the cess department claimed that the corporation earned about 12- 15 crore rupees in the entire financial year from agricultural products via the APMC. Presently, traders in Navi Mumbai are paying between 1.5 — 3 per cent LBT to the corporation.
In the current financial year up till now, the month of December witnessed the highest collection — R 66.16 crore.
April saw the least with R 30.12 crore of LBT being paid.
As per NMMC’s records, there are 23,000 traders under their jurisdiction, as well as that of the MIDC. Unlike Mumbai, where traders are known to pay octroi, in Navi Mumbai, traders had been paying cess to the corporation for over a decade, before the LBT was brought in.
Traders now directly deposit their due tax in a prescribed bank as per the directions given by NMMC. Officials believe that despite the steady pace of recovery, they are not sure if they can manage to meet the annual target of R 855 crore. “ It looks unlikely, at the moment, that we can reach our goal. In case of any change in the percentage of LBT in the months to come, there could be either a retrospective or a prospective effect,” added Cheke.