Slow progress in Coimbatore’s digital tax payment system

73% of the payments were made offline in 2023, marking a rise from 61.7% the previous year

Updated - March 17, 2024 07:32 pm IST

Published - March 17, 2024 06:05 pm IST - COIMBATORE

A property tax payment counter at the Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation (CCMC) zonal office.

A property tax payment counter at the Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation (CCMC) zonal office. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

In its 2023-2024 budget, the Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation (CCMC) earmarked ₹25 lakhs to implement a QR code system to streamline property tax payments at its zonal offices. However, a year later, progress towards digitising the payment process is yet to gain momentum.

While the current modes of payment include cash, cheque or Demand Draft at the offices, in a first, special camps set up at various wards this time have been accepting debit and credit cards. The same applies to online payment. Despite this, 73% of payments were made offline, marking a rise from 61.7% the previous year.

The government’s decision to implement a QR code system is in line with the growing dependence on digital transactions like Unified Payments Interface (UPI). The main objective of this move is to encourage more people to pay their taxes on time. To facilitate this, a joint initiative of digital payments and 5% rebate was proposed. However, only the latter was put into practice.

However, according to a CCMC official, tax collection up to February 29 for the financial year 2023-2024, amounted to ₹326 crore compared with ₹502 crore collected during the same period last fiscal. Despite this shortfall, the civic body maintains that by the end of this month, it anticipates reaching or even exceeding the target amount of approximately ₹500 crore.

Recent visits to all five offices in the city reveal that the implementation of the QR code system has fallen short of expectations. QR codes, intended for convenient payment, are notably absent from the walls or counters. Further, there is no provision for UPI payments at the special camps either. “This lack of progress has left many taxpayers frustrated with the persistence of traditional payment methods, known for their time-consuming nature,” said V. Karthick, a Coimbatore-based activist.

Authorities from the CCMC highlight several obstacles that have impeded the implementation process such as concerns regarding data privacy and storage, as well as instances of payment failures due to technical delays. “We are still grappling with how to address these glitches. Once resolved, we will proceed with the full implementation of the UPI payment system,” a senior official said.

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