KARNATAKA

Municipal council to use GIS to increase revenue

HASSAN, MARCH 24. Hassan City Municipal Council has taken up a pilot project to apply the Geographical Information System (GIS) in a ward to improve infrastructure and assess its benefits. It will manage assets using this technology and increase revenue by rationalising property tax. This in turn will help augment the targeted expenditure on various schemes.

Customised

The ORG GIS Division of Sarabhai Electronics Ltd. was given the job of customising Ward Number 9 in Hassan on a turnkey basis at a cost of Rs. 95,000. The project was completed in February 2002 and the application of the information system indicated that more than 2,36,000 sqft. of land was not included in the municipal records. It also found that 50 per cent of the land in the city is being encroached upon. Of the 9 lakh sqft of built up area identified, 80 per cent is liable for taxation.

According to the president of the council, G.T. Kumar, defaulters can be identified and revenue can be generated by regularising these encroachments. On an average, each ward will ensure additional revenue of Rs. 7 lakhs in the form of property tax after installation of the system.

G. Paramesh, former Commissioner of the council, who took initiative for introducing the information system, says that the pilot project has been found effective in enforcing tax compliance. The system is now one of the components of the Nirmal Nagara Yojane.

Sustainable

Urban local bodies have a greater role to play in the post-liberal economy. They take care of maintaining records for tax collection, property assessment and reassessment, property tax zone maps, solid waste management system and public grievance redressal for utilities. Managing these services is not easy owing to inaccurate data collection by the officials.

While there is no scientific system to assess the information procured by revenue officials, transparency and accountability are still important in urban management. The practice is sustainable as it represents a paradigm shift in Government procedures.

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