Srinagar: The Group of Concerned Citizens (GCC) J&K, a non-political body drawn from a cross-section of civil society, has urged the UT administration that the statutory orders on imposition of property tax within municipal areas in J&K, from April 12023, may be reviewed and, meanwhile, kept in abeyance.
The Group has also asked for a process of wider consultation with all sections of society.
In a memorandum submitted to the Lieutenant Governor (LG) Manoj Sinha , the GCC acknowledges the need for urban local bodies to raise additional resources, also by way of Levy of taxes, to be able to come up to people's expectations of civic amenities and infrastructure. But the Group is of the opinion that " this may not be a most opportune time to impose property tax in view of the prevailing economic distress, compounded further by surging unemployment , under--employment" .
The GCC has also expressed its reservations on the propriety of " property tax" having to be levied by a department of the UT administration when elected civic bodies were in place.
"The powers to levy property tax (etc. ) have, as an interim arrangement, been vested with the Government under Section 71 A of the Municipal Act and Section 143 A of the Municipal Corporations Act, to be exercised in a particular situation when there are no elected municipalities or corporations".
The GCC memorandum also makes some specific suggestions on amendment or further explanation of certain Clauses in Rules relating to the implementation mechanism to make it public friendly .