The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the richest municipal corporation in the country, with an annual budget of about Rs 13,000 crore, has initiated major reforms in the octroi department to mop up its revenue earnings. Though industry and traders’ lobbies have been strongly protesting the levy of octroi in Maharashtra, BMC has set a target of Rs 4,000 crore during 2007-08 fiscal. Octroi provides BMC a solid, buoyant and reliable source of revenue income that contributes almost 55-60% of its total budgeted income.
Joint municipal commissioner (improvement), V Radha, told FE that the civic body was streamlining its octroi department. The first step towards this is online payment of octroi for big corporates by setting up multiple windows and introducing a token system at five check-posts in Greater Mumbai.
‘‘We plan to introduce a ‘Green Channel’ for major corporate houses and industries wherein they can make the payment online and ensure that their goods-laden trucks enter the city without any hassles. The trucks would be cleared through specially-constructed lanes (channels) at check-posts in a stipulated time, not exceeding 15-20 minutes, she said.
Radha said a system would be introduced wherein wholesalers and godown-owners would need to ensure whether octroi has been paid for the goods procured. ‘‘In order to bring about transparency within the department, it is necessary to cut down on people-to-people interface,’’ she added.
By bringing about reforms, BMC expects revenue targets for octroi to go up by 30%. ‘‘Our octroi collections have recorded an increase by 16% over the collections during the corresponding period in the last fiscal. We hope to attain a 40% growth in collections,’’ Radha added.
Under the new system, companies that want their trucks to be allowed to pass through Green Channels would have to first register with BMC after which they would be given passwords for making ‘e-payment’.