The cash-strapped state government, that has not collected NA tax for the last 15 years, has now begun issuing bills for private and government lands in Mumbai suburbs.
NA tax is a British era tax applicable on land that has been diverted from agriculture for other purposes. It is applicable in Mumbai suburbs, but not in the island city as the latter has large tracts of leased land.
The implementation of the NA tax had been stayed since 2006 following strong opposition from suburban residents. The government did make an attempt to collect the tax in 2017, but backed off following strong resistance from citizens.
Non-agri tax discriminatory, say residents and BJP MLA
In 2018, the BJPShiv Sena government lifted the stay on collection of nonagricultural tax, while reducing the rate of taxation from 3% of the Ready Reckoner (RR) rate to 0.05%. However, the government did not implement it.
“It is a discriminatory tax,” BJP MLA Ashish Shelar from Bandra (W) said. “The British had waived it off in the island city as land was being commercially developed. It is the same case now in the suburbs as well. Also, when permission is granted for residential/commercial constructions, development charges are collected, so there is nothing to charge,” he added. Shelar has moved a private member’s bill in the state assembly for the scrapping of the tax.
Anil Joseph, a resident of Perry Cross Road in Bandra (W) said it was an antiquated tax and must be scrapped. “Agricultural activities have stopped for more than 60 years in Bandra. The tax is no longer relevant,” Joseph pointed out.
Salil Rameshchandra, president of the Federation of Grantees of Government Land and a resident of Shivshrushti Layout, said the bill that has been issued is an interim one based on the 2006 RR rate. The tax is applicable on private and government land including Mhada, BMC and others. It is not applicable to gaothans.
“The 2018 government resolution lifting the stay on the collection of NA tax reduced the taxation rate, but allowed the tax to be revised every five years. The tehsildar has informed us that this is an interim bill and the revenue department will issue fresh bills to collect the differential. The amounts will be very high considering the RR rates of 2011 and 2016 will become applicable,” said Rameshchandra.
Shelar said the Maha Vikas Aghadi government has granted concessions in stamp duty and 50% concession in premiums to builders and demanded that it scrap the NA tax which would give relief to residents of several housing societies in the suburbs.