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Kerala Govt to prepare GIS maps of properties

LSGD has issued an order for the digital mapping of properties based on the recommendation of the sixth state finance commission (SSFC). There should be separate markings for public and private properties, SSFC had said in its report.

In a significant step towards improving tax collection in the state, the local self-government department (LSGD) has decided to prepare Geographic Information System (GIS) maps of all the properties within respective local bodies.

LSGD has issued an order for the digital mapping of properties based on the recommendation of the sixth state finance commission (SSFC). There should be separate markings for public and private properties, SSFC had said in its report.

In a move that could go a long way in augmenting tax collection in the state, the local self-government department (LSGD) has decided to prepare Geographic Information System (GIS) maps of all the properties within respective local bodies. LSGD has issued an order for digital mapping of properties based on the recommendation of the sixth state finance commission (SSFC).

SSFC laid down a set of general recommendations for the augmentation of tax and non-tax revenues in its second report. The main recommendation was the preparation of a GIS map of all properties with separate markings of public and private properties, showing their use and features necessary for fixing property tax.

SSFC suggested deploying NSS volunteers from engineering colleges and polytechnics for the purpose. It added that it can be done on the basis of a digital system to be developed for the purpose which could be entrusted to an institution like IIT, Palakkad.

SSFC also recommended that a database of all licenced institutions and their staff be collected from the local government, GST department and labour department and collated. This will facilitate assessment of profession tax. It also called for the creation of unique premises numbers for the purpose of continuity.

LSGD had convened a meeting in December 2022 to discuss the recommendations of the SSFC and has now issued an order to implement the recommendations. As per the latest order issued by the LSGD, the department has given sanction to all the local governments to prepare a GIS map indicating the revenue bases and make it a public document.

SSFC in its report has stressed on the need for absolute tax transparency. The list of taxpayers, other revenues, and the details of their tax including their over-dues should be generated automatically. These details are to be made available for public scrutiny on the website of the Local Governments with linkages to the website of the Local Self Government Department, the report noted.

The report has also noted that the rate of property taxes was fixed more than 10 years ago and has not been revised since then. More importantly, the construction boom in the state could not be tapped to increase local revenues, it said.

The fourth state finance commission had also recommended GIS mapping of road and non-road assets of the local bodies. It was suggested that Natpac may be entrusted with the task of mapping roads and in the case of buildings, agencies like Centre for Management Development, Costford, Socio Economic Unit Foundation, and Maitri be entrusted with the task of preparing the details of assets. This recommendation was partially accepted by the state government, but it was not implemented.

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