A number of articles have been written about step-by-step approach to fill the Online Form for payment of property tax this year. I am writing this article on the failure of the new system and what went wrong since lakhs of tax payers could not make payments till date.
BBMP is in a big muddle for having introduced a software overnight without proving the efficacy of the new system. I am giving below the reasons for such a failure. The matter is in the hands of the concerned BBMP Commissioners who are probably not taking into consideration, the actual state of affairs. The software seems to have been based on incorrect data on each property.
- The data of each property had been migrated from SAS-2008 details. This is the main problem because it has been assumed that the details given in 2008 were correct and uploaded by the respective AROs.
- There were lots of errors in the property addresses though the correct information was given in the Forms in subsequent years. The builders did not give the correct address of each property at the start. While getting Khatha certificate and extract, documents were given to the AROs. It is the failure of AROs not to have checked and updated the given data.
- The entries in various columns could not be corrected by the user due to software. Thus the addresses could not be corrected and sufficient space was not available. For example, a property should be identifiable by its Door / Apartment Number, Block No., Road Name, Locality etc. The online form does not contain these details while the previous years’ forms had these details entered by the user. Kindly see columns 4a to 4f.
- Details of property at column 6 have not been correctly formatted. This should be split into different categories such as individual houses and apartments as the data needed are different. Details in this column were supposed to have been migrated from SAS 2008 records. Any change done by the user may not be acceptable.
- The info retrieved for the bottom portion of column 7 is correct and the tax calculations are based on this. The need for the top portion (7a) is not explained. Probably leaving this blank might have resulted in an error message that Application Incomplete.
- The software is not user-friendly. If a column is left unfilled, user should get a feedback so that the entries can be made / corrected.
- Column 8 is supposed to contain previous assessment of the property as declared in SAS 2008 and should have been migrated. Most of the boxes have been left unfilled. This may also be the cause for the error message that Application is incomplete. Many of the boxes in the columns are shaded in grey colour. It is not known whether the user has to fill these columns. The guidelines in Annexure iv is not clear in many aspects.
- Once the application is rejected due to being incomplete and validity expiry, no further steps have been added in the software to restart from the first step. Renewal application number has not been provided to restart the process.
- In many cases, even if the entries are correct, one is not able to make the payment online or get the challan and Application Print out. In some cases double payment had taken place and no receipts generated.
Rest of the columns leading to the calculations of the tax are working correctly.
I feel it will take a long time for BBMP to rectify the existing software, they can atleast clear the blocks in the software and clear the applications for payment on line or generate challan for payment through banks.
Otherwise, let them go back to the printed forms from previous years and accept payment in the Banks. This will accelerate collection of taxes easily. The forms can be made available in their web page and published in the news papers also for people to copy and use.