Electronic tax

e-Aasthi portal seeks “private” details for property tax

A series of questions that were removed from the property tax form ten years ago have made their return to the e-Aasthi portal, which has been rolled out to all neighborhoods under the BBMP East Zone.

A homeowner enjoying the installation would need to upload 42 documents, including details such as type of floor and woodwork in the house, etc.

Not everyone is happy that the civic body is looking for these “private” details that have been taken down in the past.

Some of the questions that are part of the e-Aasthi software are: Property Index Number (PIN), Pedestal Area, Built-up Area, Building Type (Commercial, Residential, etc.), Use ( own, rental), type of roof (RCC, tile, sheet metal, barracks, etc.), flooring (tiles, marble), type of wood used (teak, mahogany, etc.), photo of the owner, load certificate , etc. These details are also on the khata certificate.

A few residents also said that tax inspectors also took note of home furnishings such as lights, electrical equipment, sofas, etc. during verification.

As the drill required tax inspectors to enter homes, some residents were uncomfortable with sharing these details.

“It’s a regressive step,” said V Ravichandar, who was part of the team that designed a property tax self-assessment system.

“It will bring in discretionary elements (which have been removed) and lead to rent-seeking behavior. We have a self-assessment system based on trust and the BBMP should build on that. It makes sense to link the electricity and water meter database to the e-Aasthi software instead of asking for the type of flooring, materials used, etc.

Deepak RL, special commissioner in the revenue department of the BBMP, did not respond to calls.

After conducting a pilot project in three zones, the BBMP rolled out the e-Aasthi project in its East zone last year. The registration of his property documents on the portal has become so important that the owner may find it difficult either to sell the property
or apply for a bank loan without it.

Even getting a khata certificate requires it to be on the digital platform. The device is not yet deployed in all neighborhoods.

The BBMP had planned to expand the project, which is integrated with the Stamps and Registration database and DigiLocker compatible, to all areas, but implementation is moving at a snail’s pace.

“We receive 30 to 40 requests a day, but an inspector with the help of a data entry operator can only cover 2 to 3 houses a day. We had asked the head office to come up with a software where the owners themselves can upload all the documents to simplify the whole exercise,” said an East Area Revenue Inspector.

It is also learned that landowners in the East Zone, who are planning to sell property, have been fired from the Deputy Registrar’s office to upload the documents to the e-Aasthi portal first.

To do so, tax inspectors demanded bribes of up to 10,000 rupees while the actual charge is only 125 rupees, a senior official said on condition of anonymity.