Government bodies seem to be warming up to technology. Thecess/local body tax (LBT) department of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) is working towards finalising a fully automatic software application that would help them detect the people who default on paying the LBT.
Running for a cause
To create awareness on the cause of women’s safety, Saraswati College of Engineering organised a marathon last week. Delayed by rains, the run started from 10 am. While 3,100 runners had already registered, 400 more signed up on the spot. The marathon was followed by a blood donation camp. Ram Bhise of SCE said, “The marathon was a complete success, we got more participants than we had expected.”
The need for such a mechanism arises because, according to the NMMC, many of the nearly 23,000 traders under the civic authority and the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) are defaulting on paying the LBT. When cess was done away with and LBT was introduced in April this year, the tax rates were revised and increased. But, according to a senior official from the LBT department, many traders are still paying taxes according to the old rates.
“For example, the tax on industrial items was 1 per cent, which has now gone up to 2.5 per cent. The tax on other items like wine and spirits was 4 per cent; it has now risen to 7 per cent,” explained the official. Although officials say that strict action is taken against defaulters, the software will help them recognise these traders instantly, and get all their details. The software programme will keep a detailed record of the dates up to which the traders have duly paid the LBT.
Despite the defaults on the LBT payments, there has been a major boost in the revenue because of the increased tax slab, as compared to cess. While in July 2012, the revenue gained from cess was Rs 37.94 crore, the NMMC has raked in a revenue of Rs 51.75 crore in July this year.
In August this year, the revenue collected was Rs 56.33 crore, as opposed to Rs 37.92 crore collected in August last year. “We are educating the traders about the need to pay the full tax, but not all pay heed to us. Strict action will soon be initiated against the traders not adhering to the said norms, and the software is surely going to benefit us,” added the official.
Rs 56.33 cr Revenue earned by NMMC in August 2013 from LBT
Rs 51.75 cr Revenue earned by NMMC in July 2013 from LBT