50% rebate for senior citizens on new tax rate

May 19: The Guwahati Municipal Corporation has decided to give a 50 per cent rebate to senior citizens on the new tax rate following pressure from different organisations against the hike in property tax.
GMC commissioner Manish Thakur told The Telegraph that the decision would benefit a large chunk of residents, as a majority of household property was owned by senior citizens.
He said many senior citizens were still maintaining their families with their pension and might feel the pinch of paying the property tax at an enhanced rate.
However, the rate of property tax for the other categories of citizens would remain the same, he added.
The new rate of property tax assessment has been fixed on the basis of the 2003 land valuation notification issued by the Kamrup (metro) district administration and will vary in different areas.
The rate will be higher in prime and busy areas like Panbazar, Fancy Bazar, Lakhtokia, Dispur and Ganeshguri than in the interior areas.
A Guwahati development department official said the property tax had been increased with the aim of mopping up revenue for the cash-starved GMC.
“The state government will now release its dues and additional funds to the civic body to ensure that the decision on rebate does not further deteriorate the financial condition of the corporation,” the official said. He added that the government will soon release Rs 60 crore as dues to the GMC under the 12th Finance Commission.
The GDD has suggested that concessions be given to citizens who are very regular in paying the property tax.
“The GMC has not received outstanding property tax amounting to Rs 70 crore from many residents. But unlike the ASEB and the BSNL, it has not stopped its service to the defaulters. The concessions might enthuse people to pay tax regularly,” the official said.
Save Guwahati Build Guwahati, an NGO, which has been vehemently opposing the hike in property tax, refrained from commenting on the GMC’s decision to give tax rebate to senior citizens.
An office-bearer said the voluntary organisation had demanded a total rollback of the property tax hike. “We will discuss the issue within a day or two,” he added.
Dipankar Das, the spokesperson for the All Guwahati Students’ Union, said the economic condition of Guwahatians was not similar to those living in the metros.
He said the GMC had enhanced the property tax by 300 per cent and the city’s residents would not be able to bear such a tax burden.