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Mumbai: Maha govt waives property tax for homes upto 500 sq ft, offers sops for self development of societies

Mar 8(AZINS) Owners of 17 lakh residential units with 500 sq ft carpet area in Greater Mumbai have been exempted from the payment of property tax to the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Days before the announcement of model code of conduct for the ensuing Lok Sabha election, the state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at its meeting on Friday gave its approval.

The waiver will come into effect from January 1, 2019.

At the same time, the state cabinet also approved  proposal to give 60 per cent concession in property tax for owners of houses between  501 sq ft and 700 sq ft will be given a 60% concession in their property tax.

BMC officer said the civic body is expected to take a hit of about Rs 350 crore in its total annual property tax collection of Rs 5,000 crore following cabinet decision.

Ahead of BMC elections held in February 2017, the Shiv Sena, which had gone solo, had made promise in its poll manifesto. Subsequently, after coming to power, the new BMC body had passed resolution in this regard on July 6, 2017 and forwarded for the state government's approval.

The state cabinet had given its nod for amendment to the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation Rules 1888. The bill to amend section 128 and sections 139 to 144 (E) will be tabled in the monsoon session of the state legislature for its passage. However,  there was no need for amendments in these rules for providing 60% concession in units between  501 sq ft and 700 sq ft as the necessary powers are vested in BMC.

Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray tweeted,'' Promise fulfilled. No property tax for homes upto 500 sq ft in Mumbai now.''

He also thanked Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association founder Ramesh Prabhu said the government's decision will promote affordable housing and more people will  go for less than 500 sq ft.''When the property tax was changed from rateable value to capital value system effective from April 1, 2010, the same was exempted up to 500 sq ft units. Thus the effect will be very nominal,'' noted Prabhu.

In a related development, the state cabinet also approved slew of incentives for self development of all registered cooperative societies come up on government, semi government and private lands across the state. The cabinet has decided to provide concessions in land, construction premiums and property tax on land, additional construction rights and a one window clearance system to encourage self development by societies.

Societies opting for self development will have full control over the entire exercise and the members of such societies will get the benefit of higher floor space index (FSI). Societies are expected to complete the self development in three years.

In order to get necessary funds for self development projects, the government will soon put in place policy and guidelines for the selection of bank. The government will subsidise the interest component for loans availed for such projects.

Currently, the The Mumbai District Central Cooperative Bank headed by BJP legislator Pravin Darekar has been providing funds to such projects. It is the first bank to give loan for self development of societies and also for self redevelopment of slums and old and dilapidated buildings.

A committee headed by the additional chief secretary (housing department) has been formed  to decide the nature and quantum of sops to be offered to societies opting for self development.