BBMP for data sharing, drone survey to boost property tax collection; stop beating the drum

If you haven’t paid property tax then beware the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is now verifying it with Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM).

As a first step, the BBMP partnered with BESCOM to share data on residential properties. Recently, while verifying the data, BBMP officials discovered that a piece of land in Koramangala was presented as vacant land and hence the owner was paying a nominal land tax.

However, when officials checked with BESCOM, the property was found to be drawing electricity. This was a clear indication that the owner was falsifying records at the civic agency. So now the civic agency plans to verify properties across the city using the data exchange.

BBMP Special Commissioner (revenue) Deepak RL said: “We have partnered with BESCOM for a data exchange pilot project. Many houses pay less property tax by claiming the house was built for residential purposes. However, they can use it illegally for commercial purposes. Thus, we check with BESCOM data to verify if the power consumed is for residential or commercial purposes. Based on this, we can issue notices to owners and extract the exact tax value. The link with the utility company is primarily for upstream verification. »

He said after two years of covid downturn, BBMP scripted history by collecting Rs 2,000 crore as property tax in April and May. One of the reasons for the increase in the land tax is the automation of the zonal population. Zonal freezing was done in May.

There was confusion in May about which area to choose. Now when the street is identified by the owner, it automatically displays the tax details.

Survey by drone

In addition to the tie-up with BESCOM, BBMP has now undertaken drone property surveys. “As a pilot project, we have undertaken drone surveys of a two kilometer stretch of Airport Road. So far 150 properties have been surveyed using drones. We are following a two stage process where we use technology with drone images to assess the property.

Second, the drone survey will not give us other details like flooring etc. So our officials will also physically inspect the areas and submit reports,” the official said.

No drumbeat

One of the biggest challenges for the BBMP is property tax collection. The BBMP used to resort to drum beats in front of the owner’s house or office. However, IRS officer Deepak said this archaic method needs to be scrapped. Thus, the BBMP now plans to seize the bank accounts, movable and immovable property of the defaulter.

“While we have provisions for the same, we need to work out the modalities of how to do this. Until now, our officials would go to the house of the defaulter and seize chairs or almirahs. This was done due to a lack of information both internally and externally. So, we decided to stop this “table-chair” business. Therefore, we decided to go for a specific business analysis. We mapped each business venture to the parish level.

For example, during covid, many hospitals did good business. However, some of the hospitals did not pay the property tax. Therefore, we want to sue these hospitals. We will intensify data analysis to close the tax loophole. Like the income tax department, we want to collect all the contact details of the owners. However, one of the challenges is data privacy. So, we are working to ensure a safety mechanism,” he said, adding that training sessions should be organized for BBMP revenue officers on tax collection and calculation.