The economic slowdown has come to haunt the Delhi government. A review of the condition of the state exchequer, led by chief secretary PK Tripathi, on 18th October revealed that the government had much to worry about. The collections in the third quarter of the financial year are an unimpressive 40% of an ambitious target of around Rs 28,000 crore from all resources. A hike in circle rates and opening registration of properties in 312 illegal colonies located on private land that have been regularized recently may be announced to meet targets.
An unimpressive revenue collection from VAT and property registration have emerged as the main concerns. As far as plan expenditure is concerned, the government is on course according to the finance department. So far, expenditure stands at 31% of the total layout for this financial year. Last year at the end of the second quarter in September, plan expenditure was around 26%. Hence, this year Delhi has done better. However, with revenue targets not being met, the government is looking at strengthening its resource base.
The chief secretary, at a meeting with all heads of department, discussed the financial targets and how the collections can be bolstered in the remaining six months of the current fiscal. While VAT collections are dismally low with just about 50% of the target set for this year, the collections from stamp duty and registration of property and other documents are no better.
According to an assessment by the finance department, one of the reasons for the poor VAT collections can be attributed to the sluggish market, a result of recession. Buyers and investors are staying away from the markets while inflation has only added to the burden. The low collections from stamp duty and registration of properties is being blamed on a sluggish real estate market. Also, ever since restrictions were imposed on registration of properties on general power of attorney, fewer people have come forward to register their properties.
To bolster collections from stamp duty, it was suggested that the circle rates may be revised at the earliest. The existing rates are not at par with the market rate of properties, particularly in the upscale colonies of A and B categories like Vasant Vihar, Jor Bagh, Golf Links, Maharani Bagh, Friends Colony, Greater Kailash and Defence Colony. A proposal on circle rates revision is likely to be finalized soon so that it can be placed before the cabinet.
A policy on opening registration of properties in 312 unauthorised colonies located on private land that were regularized has been prepared and is being scrutinized by the law department.
Source: Times of India
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