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Tax collection: civic body had lowered targets to beat slowdown
April, 03rd 2009

Though the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has claimed that it has not been hit by the global economic slowdown and has, in fact, seen a rise in the octroi and property tax collections, civic officials said both the departments have failed to achieve their original targets. The targets were lowered after the slowdown made the achievement of these figures distant.
The collection of octroi and property tax for 2008-09 stood at Rs 4,514.7 crore and Rs 2,230.10 crore respectively. The civic administration, in its 2009-10 budget, had set the target of both the departments at Rs 4,600 crore and Rs 2,242 crore. Civic officials said the targets were revised twice ever since the slowdown kicked in.

The target for octroi collections was then revised to Rs 4,400 crore, while the property tax target was revised more than once. We have been able to achieve the revised targets and have noticed some rise in that, the official said. The target for the following year has also been set at Rs 4,400 crore now.

Officials said the slowdown has left its mark on the two departments considered to be money spinners for the BMC, with both failing to achieve their original targets. Also, for the first time, octroi from crude oil imports showed a slump.

Reeling under the impact of the economic slowdown, the top income earning departments of the BMC had informed the financial department that the 2008-09 budget targets will be difficult to achieve. If the slowdown continues for another few months, even the next fiscals targets will have to be revised.

In January this year, the collections of both the departments were low and this led the civic officials to revise the targets. Every year in November, the targets are revised and we are given a higher target to achieve. Owing to slowdown, for the first time we had to ask the seniors to lower the targets as we were unable to achieve the original targets, said a senior civic official.

Municipal Commissioner Jairaj Phatak on Thursday, however, said the civic administration has been able to fight the slowdown. We have recorded a rise in the collection of octroi and property tax this year despite a slowdown, he said.

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