Source: News Bharati English23 Nov 2016 15:56:50

New Delhi, Nov 23: While the entire Opposition is making a hue and cry over the demonetization decision of the Narendra Modi government, the same has proved to be a blessing in disguise for the municipal corporations in the country.

According to reports, as many as 47 civic bodies have collected taxes worth Rs 13,192 crore by Tuesday. Compare this figure with last year’s collection of Rs 3607 crore and imagine how the move to scrap big denomination notes from the market proved beneficial for the civic bodies.

According to the figures provided by 47 urban local bodies to the Union Urban Development Ministry their tax collection has shown an upward swing of 268 percent in November 2016 as compared to the last year’s corresponding period.

The maximum tax collection was recorded after the November 8 announcement by the Prime Minister on demonetizing high denomination currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 from circulation. In the rush of clearing the high denomination currency notes from their possession, people rushed to clear the tax dues to civic bodies and thus helped them increase their tax collection as compared to earlier months.

Mumbai Corporation recorded tax collection worth Rs 11,913 crore this month as compared to Rs 3185 crore collected in November 2015. Surat Municipal Corporation increased its revenue collection from Rs 7.19 crore in 2015 to Rs 100 crore in this November.

Hyderabad recorded collection of Rs 208 crore over only Rs 8 crore in November 2015; Ahmadabad collected Rs 170 crore against Rs 78 crore; Chennai pocketed Rs 80 crore against Rs 24 crore; Rajkot collected Rs 34.27 crore against the collection of Rs 3.34 crore, and Nagpur Municipal Corporation recorded a collection of Rs 27 crore in November 2016.

Till November 21, among the municipal corporations, Mumbai collected Rs 322.06 crore, Thane Rs 38 crore, Navi Mumbai Rs 42.05 crore, Kalyan-Dombivli Rs 52.04 crore, Meera Bhayandar Rs 41.34 crore, Pune Rs 119.69 crore, Pimpri-Chinchwad Rs 34.67 crore, Nagpur Rs 19.55 crore, Aurangabad Rs 12.66 crore, Nashik Rs 19.16 crore, Kolhapur Rs 9.02 crore among others, the statement said.

The directorate of municipal administration which covers municipal councils collected Rs 128.55 crore, the statement added.

The fantastic returns could be attributed state governments’ special schemes for taxpayers to pay their dues — some of which are said to have been unsettled for years — with the demonetised notes.

Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu attributed this sudden spurt in tax collection to the demonetization move. “People are clearing up their old dues, paying with Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. For the urban local bodies, it has meant substantial mopping up of tax collection”, he said.

However, some experts have called this increase in municipal revenue a reflection of people using up their defunct notes than an indication of improved efficiency.