Despite the civic administration failing to give details of the change of use of properties that came up for Information Technology (IT) companies, elected representatives in Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Tuesday approved a proposal for giving discount in property tax to the IT sector.
The proposal was approved, after three weeks, with a majority vote with all political parties, except the Congress, voting in its favour.
“The civic administration proposal was for implementing the Information Technology (IT) and Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) policy. The PMC has to follow it to promote the sector in the city so that it would enable employment generation,” said Balasaheb Bodke, chairperson of PMC’s standing committee.
According to the civic administration, there are total of 922 properties registered for use of IT firms and ITES. Of these, 693 properties came up before April 2010 and were benefiting from the previous state government policy.
However, 229 properties that have come up after 2010 could not avail of the discount as the policy period had expired. The PMC was getting a revenue collection of Rs.23.18 crore from the property tax from buildings belonging to IT firms and ITES sector.
“The PMC revenue collection would reduce by mere Rs 3.80 crore if the IT properties that have come up after 2010 are also given the discount in property tax assessment. This is a very less amount compared to the overall collection of civic body,” said Suhas Mapari, in-charge of PMC Property Tax department.
In a communication to the PMC for implementing the IT policy of state government, the Mahrashtra Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA) had said that the IT sector in city was providing direct employment to three lakh people and indirect employment to 10 lakh people.
“The total exports of the IT industry of city is 10 billion dollars which is about 10 per cent of the export from the country. Thus, it is recommended that the IT companies be levied property tax at residential rates considering the importance of IT segment from the city,” it said.
Congress corporator and member of standing committee Avinash Bagawe said the civic administration failed to provide information on the properties that came up for IT sector so far but changed its use later on. “The Congress opposed the proposal as there was a possibility that many property owners might avail of the discount in property tax despite changing use of property from IT to other commercial use,” he said.
The state government had come up with the IT and ITES policy in 2003 to promote the IT sector in the state. It
included providing discounts in property tax by doing its assessment as per residential rates. However, the policy for five years expired in 2008 and an extension was given to it with mentioning the cities, excluding Pune, where it would be implemented.
Credits The Indian Express