Pune’s Property Tax Defaulters Default Again, PMC Plans Crackdown

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Pune, 10th June 2024: The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has uncovered alarming information regarding its Abhay Yojana for taxpayers with property tax arrears. Despite the scheme’s introduction to assist defaulters, nearly half of the beneficiaries are again in arrears.

The Abhay Yojana was first implemented in 2020-21 to help recover property tax arrears. Under this scheme, 149,683 delinquent property tax holders availed the benefits and paid their taxes. However, the PMC incurred a loss of Rs. 210 crores due to the penalty and interest waivers provided.

In response to the ongoing arrears, the PMC reintroduced the Abhay Yojana in 2021-22. This time, 66,454 delinquent property tax holders utilized the scheme. The waivers resulted in an additional loss of Rs. 64 crores. The scheme faced criticism for being unfair to honest taxpayers who pay their dues on time.

Vivek Velankar, president of Sajag Nagarik Manch, highlighted the recurring delinquency issue. Information obtained through the Right to Information (RTI) Act revealed that many beneficiaries of the Abhay Yojana have once again defaulted on their property taxes.

According to the data, out of the 149,683 property holders who benefited from the 2020-21 Abhay Yojana, 56,904 have become delinquent again by the end of March 2024. Similarly, of the 66,454 property holders who benefited from the 2021-22 scheme, 41,500 are again in arrears as of March 31, 2024.

Velankar expressed concerns about the negative impact on honest taxpayers. He stated, “These schemes unfairly impact citizens who pay taxes on time every year. We feared that arrears would be absorbed and taxes would not be paid until a new Abhay Yojana was introduced. Unfortunately, our fears have come true.”

Madhav Jagtap, Chief of the PMC Property Tax Department, responded to the RTI findings, saying, “The information will be provided to the Municipal Commissioner, who will decide on the actions to be taken against borrowers who have re-entered arrears after benefiting from the Abhay Yojana. A special recovery drive will be conducted for these defaulters. The Municipal Corporation is not planning to implement the Abhay Yojana again.”

The PMC now faces the challenge of recovering the recurring arrears and ensuring that such delinquency does not persist, all while maintaining fairness to honest taxpayers.