SMC violates Central govts directives, charges 16% tax under SBM  

Violating the rules and regulations of the much-celebrated cleanness mission of the central government, Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has asked the NGO’s to pay 16 percent tax on every Individual Household Latrines (IHHL) they construct under Swachh Bharat Mission.

Pertinently, the central government in the 2015 budget announced 100 percent tax exemption under corporate social responsibility activities like Swachh Bharat Abihyan and Clean Ganga fund.

“When we filed the tender, we were told that there is no tax involved, while as when we filed our bills after completing the work, we were asked to pay around 16 percent tax,” said Azhar of Yougantra, an NGO working with a local NGO, Helpers of Humanity. The NGO is constructing household latrines in Noorbagh area of Srinagar. 

Ironically, the NGO which has already constructed around 70 IHHL in the city has not filed the bills to the SMC, because the decision on tax issue has been put on hold by the authorities at the SMC.

According to a SMC insider, the organization has not cleared a single bill during the year 2016-2017 under Swachh Bharat Abihyan.

Meanwhile, the NGOs alleged that they were not allocated work orders by the SMC despite given the list of the works under Swachh Bharat Abihyan.

“There is red-tapism in the SMC. They don’t know how to work. We were allocated the list of works but were denied works order by the SMC,” says Zakir Batti of National Development, an NGO from Jammu.

The total assistance available for construction of an individual toilet was Rs 10, 000. However, the rate was later raised by the central government to 15,000, he said.

Meanwhile, sources told Kashmir vision that the cost of a single unit of toilet in City area is around 17,000 while as it is 10, 000 in rural areas.

As per the SBM guidelines, for the expected assistance for construction of community toilets the Central Government will contribute up to 40% of the cost of construction of community toilet as a Viability Gap Funding / outright grant. The States/UTs shall provide an additional 13.33% for the said component.

Meanwhile, only one NGO, Yougantra, had followed the SMC guidelines to construct the IHHL but it too has not filed the bill due to differences in the tax filing. The others NGO’s who had applied for the construction of IHHL were not provided any work orders under Swachh Bharat Abihyan.

Commenting on the issue, SMC Commissioner Shafqat Khan said that the “issue will be resolved soon.”

“You have flagged an important issue. I will arrange a meeting with all the NGOs and resolve the issue once for all,” Khan told ‘Kashmir Vision’.

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