Property Tax Row | JMC to call General House meeting

Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) is contemplating to call a General House meeting amid debate over the implementation of property tax in Jammu and Kashmir following notification issued by the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUDD).

Although the officials claim that the General House has yet to take a final call vis-a-vis its implementation but the J&K government has made it clear that it wants to implement property tax in the Union Territory through Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).

“The notification of HUDD has only asked to calculate the basis or nomenclature on the basis of which the property tax can be imposed in municipal areas,” said Deputy Mayor, Purnima Sharma while responding to media queries on this account here on Wednesday.

Sharma said, “The General House has to decide whether it will impose this tax or not. The representatives of people will decide in the scheduled meeting.” She said, “No property tax has been imposed so far.”

Meanwhile, Mayor, Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC), Chander Mohan Sharma said, “The property tax has not been implemented as yet. We have decided to change its name from Property Tax to “Vikas Shulak.”

“We are convening a General House Meeting in the coming days and only after approval from the House, the tax on commercial property will be imposed,” said Sharma.

He said, “The tax is needed for the development of Jammu.” “It was one of the conditions of reforms to show to the Government of India that the property tax laws in J&K are linked to circle-rate,” said a senior official.

As far as implementation of property tax is concerned, the official said, “The government is very clear that Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) will have to adopt it by themselves. We will also help them to adopt it, but it will not be forced. We will also encourage the ULBs to adopt it. Without its adoption, the developmental activities could not be taken-up in view of lack of funds.”

With the implementation of a third-tier system of democracy in J&K, another top ranking official told Greater Kashmir that Urban Local Bodies have the authority to decide the property tax amount and impose it accordingly after proper consultation.

“The property tax is already in vogue all over the country and thus it will be implemented in J&K, sooner or later,” he said.

“This tax enables the Corporations to provide services to the people and take-up developmental activities with the help of revenue generated out of property tax,” added the official.

The name is being changed in view of resentment among the people against the imposition of property tax. Row erupted following a notification issued by Housing and Urban Development Department (HUDD), Principal Secretary, Dheeraj Gupta which reads: “S.O. 49 in exercise of the powers conferred by the Jammu and Kashmir Property Tax Board Act, 2013, the J&K Municipal Act, 2000, and J&K Municipal Corporation Act, 2000, the Government hereby direct that for the levy of property tax on any land or building the value of land as notified in terms of J&K Preparation and Revision of Market Value Guideline Rules, 2011 (circle-rate) shall be a key determinant of the value of property apart from the nature of construction, the kind of use, the age of the property, many other relevant considerations.”

“The Property Tax Board, or as the case may be the Municipal Corporation Council or Committee concerned shall ensure that the value of land so notified is adequately factored in while determining the unit area values for levy of property tax under the Acts,” the notification reads. It may be recalled here that the Ministry of Home Affairs had empowered J&K Govt to impose property tax through Municipal Corporations, Municipal Councils, and Municipal Committees.