Public Shaming Tactic: PCMC to Publish Names of Defaulters in Newspapers, Share Asset Confiscation Videos on Social Media

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Varad Bhatkhande
Pimpri Chinchwad, 24th February 2024: With only 38 days remaining in the current financial year, the Taxation and Tax Collection Department of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has initiated bold measures to collect outstanding dues. Individuals with arrears exceeding 1 lakh will have their names published in newspapers. To address asset confiscation, videos will be circulated on social media platforms, and the Taxation Department has decided to announce the names of defaulters through rickshaw speakers. This significant decision aims to encourage defaulters to settle their outstanding and current tax payments promptly, avoiding public exposure.

The PCMC urges cooperation from the public and emphasizes the importance of meeting tax obligations. Furthermore, a proposal has been recently submitted to the auction committee for the valuation of 24 confiscated properties, with the approval decision expected within a week.

Pimpri-Chinchwad city boasts a registry of 615,000 properties, and PCMC has strategically divided the area into 17 zones for efficient tax collection. Presently, the treasury has successfully amassed Rs 773 crore in taxes. Aiming higher, Assistant Commissioner of Taxation and Tax Collection Department Nilesh Deshmukh and his team are pushing towards the ambitious target of Rs 1,000 crore before the conclusion of the 2023-24 financial year, which leaves a mere 38 days on the calendar. Recognizing the urgency, a meticulous plan for arrear recovery has been crafted to ensure successful implementation.

In a significant move, the Taxation and Tax Collection Department has decided to publish the names of prominent defaulters in each zone in newspapers. While ongoing rigorous operations such as confiscation drives and tap connection shutdowns continue for tax recovery, videos capturing the process of seizing defaulters’ assets will be shared on various social media platforms.

PCMC is proactively raising awareness by installing speakers on rickshaws across different parts of the city, urging residents to settle their current taxes and arrears. Notably, the names of those defaulters who persistently neglect their tax obligations despite awareness efforts, particularly those with the financial capacity to fulfil their dues, will be publicly announced through the speaker system.

The Taxation and Tax Collection Department in PCMC has embarked on a historic initiative by initiating the seizure of properties from defaulters for the first time. Over 1000 properties have already been seized, requiring the valuation of these assets by government valuers. In response to the invitation for applications, five government valuers submitted their applications within the stipulated period and have now been appointed to the panel.

In another innovative approach, PCMC is tapping into the power of social media influencers to enhance property tax collection efforts. Among the 76 individuals identified as ‘Social Media Influencers’ in Pimpri Chinchwad city, a reel competition is set to take place. This competition aims to inspire citizens to fulfil their tax obligations, with rewards offered by the tax collection department for influencers who create unique and innovative videos.

Here is a summary of the actions taken so far:
– Confiscated properties: 844
– Sealed properties: 451
– Disconnected properties: 151
– Tax arrears on the above properties: Rs. 18.5 crores

PCMC Additional Commissioner Pradeep Jambhale-Patil revealed, “A proposal has been submitted to the auction committee to auction 24 properties. It will be decided in a week. Also, 5 government valuers have been appointed to determine the valuation of the confiscated properties. So now the auction process will speed up. So far more than 1500 properties have been confiscated and tap connections have been closed. Defaulters should pay taxes and avoid harsh measures like confiscation and auction.”

PCMC Assistant Commissioner of Taxation and Tax Collection Department Nilesh Deshmukh stated, “This financial year, PCMC has distributed 100% of bills in May. After that, pre-seizure notices have been issued to property owners with an overdue amount of Rs 50,000 six months in advance. After that, calls are made repeatedly through Tele-calling. Bill payment is being requested by sending SMS many times. But even after that due to defaulters not responding, they are forced to take unpleasant actions like confiscation, sealing, cutting tap connections.”