Civic body sends proposal to govt for waiver of property tax for retired defence personnel, but ex-servicemen not excited
Former defence personnel may not have to pay property tax if a proposal sent by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to the state government is accepted. But former servicemen residing in the city are not enthused.
Tax sop? The state government is studying the feasibility of the
property tax exemption proposal. Representation pic
Assistant Commissioner Vilas Kanade said the proposal to exempt retired defense personnel from paying property tax was sent to the state government on October 13, and the final decision on it will be taken by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. "The government has asked us to furnish information regarding the number of retired personnel that will benefit, the effect on the current tax situation and so forth," Kanade said. "The rationale behind our proposal is to relax the financial burden on retired defence personnel, who have served the nation even at the risk of losing their lives."
All over state?
It is also learnt that the state government now wants to implement the scheme statewide and has asked for more information regarding the total number of former defense personnel from the various District Sainik Welfare Boards in the state. The CM is expected to take a decision after this information is received and the issue is thoroughly discussed in the assembly.
However, former defense personnel have pointed out several flaws with the plan, besides saying the property tax exemption is not enough compensation for former military personnel. Former air force officer Group Captain S S Phatak (Retired), who heads the Pension Department of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement's city branch, termed the proposal "eyewash" and an attempt at gaining political mileage. He said he saw little chance of it being implemented, and if implemented, not providing relief to several retired servicemen because of certain conditions which will have to be met.
"First of all, the property has to be registered in the name of the retired soldier or officer concerned for him to enjoy exemption," Phatak said. "Also, the government will simply lose out on precious revenue if the proposal is implemented as a policy. And if the PMC asks reimbursement for the lost revenue from the state government, the latter will refuse, saying it does not have funds. When the matter reaches the Centre, it will also give the same reason."
Major General S C N Jatar (Retired) felt that though the property tax exemption proposal was a good gesture, it was more or less symbolic and much more needed to be done, especially for the other ranks. "The proposal does raise the morale of former military men, who feel good that civilian society remembers them even during peacetime, after they have done their duty," Jatar said. "Still, I would like to add here that the government needs to pay attention to the plight of the non-officer cadre like sepoys and havildars, who should have reservations in jobs in paramilitary services like CRPF and CISF." He explained that retired servicemen who were not officers found it difficult to find employment in civvy street since, though skilled in the kind of work assigned to them in the forces, they were not highly educated.