House tax waive off puts panchayats in a spot

Confused as govt is yet to issue a notification

Neshwin Almeida | The Goan | JANUARY 12, 2013, 12:11 PM IST

The State government’s decision to waive off house tax inpanchayat areas has not many takers.

Many sarpanchas are in a quandary, as revenue from house taxwas the biggest earner for the panchayats.

Many of these local self-government bodies in Salcete areconfused, as government is yet to issue a notification on waiving off the housetax collection.

The government though is steadfast with their decision madeto the public, before the assembly election.

“Every panchayat’s house tax collection in the last fiveyears will be checked and an average will be taken. Based on the average theamount will be disbursed to the panchayats across Goa, thereby waiving offhouse tax from all villages,” Panchayat Minister, Laxmikant Parsekar said.

We will pay the required matching grants from the panchayatfunds, he added.

Some of the big panchayats in Salcete are worried with thecalculation adopted by the government as compensation for the house tax. Theydo not see much relief coming into their kitty from the government.

“The problem is that the government calculates the averagefrom June. But we have arrears of Rs 42 lakh by way of house tax collection inBenaulim. We have requested the government for more time so that our total taxcalculation gets a boost, which will have an impact on the average,” saidBenaulim Sarpanch, Royla Fernandes.

Benaulim like other big panchayat’s like Navelim is agrowing panchayat with rising number of houses and apartments.

“The average needs to be revised every year or else we willlose out on huge tax revenue, as new houses or buildings won’t be added to theaverage of matching grants from DoP,” Fernandes rationalises.

Director of Panchayat, Narayan Sawant admitted that as ofnow there was no thought given to revising the average of house tax collectionto increase the matching grant to the panchayat.

Cavelossim  Sarpanch,Viola D’Costa pointed that government was yet to issue the notification onwaiving off the house tax collection, which has left panchayats confused. Manypanchayats’ revenues have dropped considerably, as they have stopped collectinghouse tax and the government is yet release the matching grants, D’Costa said.

But officials have said that all the panchayats were alreadyinstructed to continue collecting house tax until the government come with anotification.

“We have made it very clear to panchayats to continuecollecting house tax and increase their revenue, since government is yet toissue a notification on waiving off the house tax,” Block Development Officerof Salcete-I, Uday Prabhudessai said.

The government has already disbursed part of the grants topanchayats in the State.

 “We have disbursedalmost Rs 420 crore and the balance of Rs 420 crore will be cleared soon to allpanchayats after which they will not have to go around collecting house tax,”Director of Panchayat, Narayan Sawant informed.

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