India : Evasion of property tax and construction of illegal buildings will no longer be easy in urban India. With the work on satellite mapping of 158 towns across India gaining momentum, the city managers will soon have easily-accessible evidence to nab tax evaders.
Also, digital database and geographical information system (GIS) mapping, being undertaken by Survey of India (SOI), will help various cities preparing their master plans and executing detailed town planning, according to the officials in the urban development ministry.
The towns include Port Blair in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Adilabad and Nalgonda in Andhra Pradesh, Dibrugarh and Nagaon in Assam, Arrah and Bhagalpur in Bihar, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar in Gujarat, Shimla and Sonal in Himachal Pradesh, Samba and Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad in Jharkhand, just to name a few.
Though bigger cities have not been funded by the Centre under this scheme, it’s expected that the local governments of those cities will initiate such mapping on their own. Delhi, for example, has launched a pilot programme on GIS mapping in some parts of the city.
Sources further said that the satellite images for 120 towns in 33 states were already been procured, and aerial survey is being planned for 142 towns. Many of these towns, however, are common in both cases. Also, Survey of India has completed construction of 333 permanent ground control point monuments in 71 towns in 32 states, and 454 monuments are under observation in 66 towns in 32 states. The government’s initiative is a part of the ongoing national urban information system (NUIS).
Urban development secretary M Ramachandran told that the GIS mapping would help authorities to monitor even individual flats. “Once this mapping is done, one can easily detect how big a house is, how many rooms it has, and so on. The tax evasion will be quite difficult then,” he said.
Rajeev Talwar, group executive director of DLF, said that once such satellite mapping is done, land titles will become clearer and it will pave the for lowering stamp duties. “Cleaner land titles mean more transparent property transactions which further implies that the tax revenues of the government will go up. Stamp duty on land can then be lowered and this can be of great benefit to everyone.”
Vivek Dahiya, director, DTZ, said it would help track ownership of land better. “The system will help track supply and figure out what stands where. It can be of enormous help for town planning as one would know how much land to acquire, how much social infrastructure is needed, whether it should be for residential or commercial use,” he said.