Ongole: Government unveils app to curb corruption in tax collection
- Many ground level staff including the bill collectors, panchayat secretaries resorting to corruption while collecting the housing tax, water tax, and other taxes from the assesses
- The House Tax Collection app will end the corruption at the ground level by introducing transparency, says Prakasam district panchayat officer GV Narayana Reddy
Ongole: The Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Department sought the help of technology to address the most haunting problem, corruption at the ground level.
As part of the Digital Panchayat apps series, the government introduced the Housing Tax Collection App to make sure transparency is maintained in collection of housing tax.
The Department of PR&RD is maintaining a Digital Panchayat website to promote transparency and speediness in the services to the public. The panchayat staff has updated the website with the data required for civic services, mutation services, plan services, industry services, registration services etc., and using it at the offices for almost a decade.
However, many of the ground level working staff including the bill collectors, panchayat secretaries resorting to corruption while collecting the housing tax, water tax, and other taxes from the assessees, for personal use and not remitting to the government.
Some of them even dared to print duplicate receipts to pocket the government funds. The Collectors of various districts including Prakasam and Anantapur etc suspended many panchayat secretaries and other ground-level staff for swindling the public money after the people who paid the taxes complained to them for sending assessments again.
To address the problem of corruption in collection of taxes for once and all, the government introduced the house tax collection through an app.
The district-level officers are now providing training to the panchayat secretaries on the use of the application in the first phase.
Later, the application will be installed on the mobile phones of the bill collectors, who should complete their tax collection only through it. Based on the performance, and addressing the ground level issues, the government will include the collection of other taxes also in the app, informs the officials.
Prakasam district panchayat officer GV Narayana Reddy explained that the House Tax Collection app will end the corruption at the ground level by introducing transparency. He said that the bill collectors visit the houses of the assessees to collect the tax as usual, but they will enter the details of the payment with the assessment number, name of the assessee, their door number and mobile number. After the payment is complete, the receipt will be sent to the owner on the mobile number as an SMS, he explained.
After the total amount of the taxes collected reach Rs 5000, he said that the bill collector should remit the same to the panchayat secretary who then deposits in treasury through challan later, as the regular practice.
If the bill collector exceeds the Rs 5000 limit, the app prevents him from collecting other assessments. The DPO said that as each and every transaction is recorded with the government, the officials will have the complete information of the collection of taxes, and who didn't deposit the amount to the treasury yet to initiate action on them if necessary.