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GIS-based property tax collection raises bar for efficiency

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Integrating the geo-referenced property information with property tax data available with Urban Local Body (ULBs) has helped in improving collections and transparency

Project Head: Dr T K Sreedevi, Commissioner & Director, Municipal Administration, Telangana

One of the most crucial sources of revenue for Urban Local Bodies in India is property tax. However, every ULB faces issues in accessing detailed information related to property – location, encumbrance, property tax details and disputes. In most cases, the property tax information is never integrated with the property information like encumbrance, disputes since there was not convergence with the information with the registration department. Seeking information about the property is a time-consuming process.

To resolve this issue, the Commissioner & Director, Municipal Administration, Telangana, embarked on the task to map all properties in urban areas along with government properties using GIS. This project was done in consultation with 72 urban local bodies and Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC). The C&DMA in partnership with the ISRO’s NRSC, Hyderabad customised a special mobile application on the Android platform to geo-tag all the properties with the help of ‘Bhuvan’, the online platform which provides images and map visualisation.

The main objective was to integrate the geo-referenced property information with property tax data available with ULB, which provides the details of owner of the property, address, property details, tax details with property image and geographical location and this is integrated with Registration Department Data consisting of details of encumbrances, prohibited property details and dispute properties. Thus complete details of, tax dues, addresses, encumbrance, disputes if any along picture (time stamped) is available for easy access through the Commissioner and Director, Municipal Administration (C&DMA) website, ULB website.

The application developed by NRSC is user-friendly mobile and server based solution which enables a data collector to systematically record generated assets with spatial position (longitude, latitude and attribute the status), time stamped with geo-tagged photograph. This mobile app provides a platform to build a spatial database on the Bhuvan Geo-platform. All precautions were taken that the output of the exercise of geo-tagging of properties stand the test of scrutiny. In order to ensure this, the area allocated to each surveyor or bill collectors was geo-fenced and the data was integrated with their individual mobile.

The geo-tagged properties are linked to property data base ‘e-suvidha’ of C&DMA and ULB viz, name of the property owner, property tax details, building measurement details and other details i.e, encumbrance, prohibited properties and disputed properties provided by the Registration Department.

The progress of the survey was monitored through the dashboard of the C&DMA and reviewed on a daily basis. The Geo- spatial survey is entirely carried out by the in-house personnel i.e, the bill collectors in the urban local bodies in economical way by using smart phones with Android applications. The NRSC has trained 1,498 bill collectors to carry out the survey and has extended the technical support. The entire process was carried out in just a period of three months and all the existing 12.5 lakh assessments were mapped with error percentage of less than 0.01.

Linking of geo-spatial data along with the picture of the property to the existing database of Municipal Administration and Registration Department data is a pioneering step as this huge exercise has led to development of land registry which has multiple uses to the citizens as well as the departments and agencies. It has enabled hassle-free transactions to the citizens, saving time and resources with quicker disposal of service request and improved citizen satisfaction of ULB services.

The geo-tagged properties are linked to property data base of the ULB which provides all information on the property viz, name of the owner, tax details, building details, encumbrance, prohibited properties details and disputed properties to the citizen or buyer. Other than tax the details such as encumbrance, prohibited properties and disputed properties are captured with due integration of data base of registration department.

The user / citizen has to just login to ULB website or C&DMA website using the property tax assessment number or house number to search for the property information. The entire process took three months period and all the existing 12.5 lakh assessments are mapped with 18000 new / un-assessed properties are also tagged in.

Earlier, no such spatial database was available in the ULBs on the properties. Access to any information related to property i.e, location, encumbrance, property tax details, disputes was cumbersome and time-consuming process. The property tax information was never integrated with the property information like encumbrance, disputes since there was not convergence with the information with the registration department. Seeking information about the property was a time-consuming process.

Benefits
The introduction of property mapping along with the integration of property information has helped the citizens and they are able to view the property details at click of a button like name of the owner, property tax, mutation, disputes, encumbrance. The initiative has resulted in easy access of information at a click of button to the citizens about the property led to a reform that is also mandated under the Ease of Doing Business. This would reduce the transaction time for business or individual to seek relevant information related to a property transaction. The user can access the ULB website or C&DMA website using the property tax assessment number or house number to search for the property information. The data base can be used development of digital door numbering for all the properties.

The property mapping is very useful database and could be utilised for several urban initiatives like Revenue Augmentation and Service Delivery. Urban Local Bodies can utilize the integrated database of spatial and non-spatial information for property tax, mutations, and property details and providing other utilities services with respect to property information.

Today, 12.5 lakh properties in the 72 ULBs have been mapped using this process. The geo-spatial database of properties is available on the public domain and the citizens can view detailed information of the property online without visiting the ULB office. The database can now be used to identify the under-assessed or un-assessed properties which would augment the revenue in terms of property tax by identifying the under assessed and un-assessed properties.

The property mapping is very useful database as it integrates the Geo- spatial information with the MIS data base and could be utilised for several urban initiatives like access to detailed property information revenue augmentation, improving service levels. It enables hassle-free transactions to the citizens, saving time and resources with quicker disposal of service request and improved citizen satisfaction of ULB services.

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