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North body postpones proposal to levy professional tax

The BJP-ruled North Delhi Municipal Corporation on Wednesday postponed the proposal to levy tax on professionals, increase in the rates of electricity tax and property transfer duty — the same which were passed by the SDMC House on Monday — following stiff resistance from the opposition parties.

The corporation’s standing committee, however, approved hiking tax on rented commercial properties, guest houses and banquet halls — just like the SDMC. The SDMC had doubled the tax on such properties. However, the North body announced that a separate committee will be formed to evaluate the percentage of tax hike.

The North body standing committee also proposed to enhance licensing by fee for various commercial establishments in industrial areas at least three times.

“We want to improve the financial health of the corporation and for that we may have to take strong measures but it cannot be done without proper discussion. We have decided to postpone the proposals of professional tax, increase in the rates of electricity tax and property transfer tax till the next meeting of the House in August for discussion. We are not implementing these taxes for now,” Jai Prakash, mayor, North Delhi Municipal Corporation said.

The proposal will now be tabled for discussion in the North DMC House.

The opposition Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had strongly objected to the corporation’s tax proposals.

Vikas Goel, leader of opposition in the north civic body and an AAP councillor, said the AAP is against any kind of new tax or the hike in tax rates especially when the people are battling the coronavirus pandemic.

“People are already suffering due to Covid-19 pandemic and more tax will only make things worse for them. We have strongly opposed tax proposals in the standing committee meeting and following which those were postponed. We will oppose it further if need be,” Goel said.

Adesh Gupta, Delhi BJP president, said he has asked the SDMC to roll back the proposal to levy professional tax. “We will not let the corporations levy professional tax. North corporation has already deferred the move. We did not approve increase in the electricity tax. The corporations are in bad financial shape because the state government is not giving the corporation their due funds. The government should help the civic bodies in these testing times and should not do politics on the matter,” Gupta said.

Mayor Jai Prakash said the proposal to hike tax on rented commercial property was in line with the recommendations of Municipal Valuations Commiittee-3, which proposed doubling the tax on rented commercial properties and also to increase tax on commercial establishments such as guest houses, banquet halls, private schools among others. “We have passed this but a committee will be formed to review the recommendations and check viability. We will see how much tax we can increase on different type of commercial establishments. We have also approved the proposal to increase factory licensing fee for industries and storage houses. We had to pass these proposals because licensing fee has not increased for over last 10 years,” Prakash said.

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