Image description

On Friday, the BJP staged a demonstration across Tamil Nadu against the state government's property tax hike. M K Stalin, the Chief Minister of the DMK, has stated that his government was forced to alter the property tax in order to ensure that monies flow to municipal organisations so that freshly elected legislators can help development initiatives.

"On the one hand, they talk about a new model for India, and on the other hand, they recognise their failure," BJP MLA Vanathi Srinivasan told NDTV. "Fuel is imported, and pricing is determined according to international price," she remarked when asked why the BJP is protesting since the union government has been raising fuel prices on a daily basis. Allow Tamil Nadu to vote yes on bringing fuel under GST, the price will come down.

The state government's decision has come as a "big shock" to Vasan, a 62-year-old resident of Mylapore, an area categorised as core Chennai. During the pandemic, his sons had lost their employment.

"Over the previous two years, we've lost our source of income. Raising the property tax now would be a major setback "Vasan is facing a 75 percent increase in takeover costs for his 1050 square foot building.

However, with the recent modification of property tax rates, roughly 10 lakh households in Chennai's IT corridor who have been without piped water and underground drainage for 11 years now have optimism.

"With this proportional tax hike, the government has recognised for the first time the disparity in infrastructure provided in core regions of Chennai and newly added areas after 2010," remarked Harsha Koda, Co-Founder, Federation of OMR resident associations (FOMRRA).

About 83 percent of urban households will see a tax increase of 25 to 50 percent. The state administration maintains that the tax structure proposed for Chennai is the lowest in the country when compared to other metros. A 25% rise has been recommended for 1.52 lakh dwellings in the Chennai Corporation area, while 50 and 75 percent increases have been requested for 3.46 lakh and 3.12 lakh units, respectively.

From the first quarter of 2022 through the first quarter of 2023, the new tax slabs will take effect.

According to the state government, the tax adjustment was unavoidable because there had been no revision in 14 years. Also, because there are no elected representatives for a full five-year term, a lot of development work has piled up, and local governments do not have enough funding to deliver the basic infrastructure that people demand.

The government also contends that the union government required tax adjustment for grants to local governments.

"The revision was not completed completely. My appeal to everyone, regardless of party affiliation, is to kindly support the government's choice to expand local governments as well as the state's general growth. There should be no politics involved in this "MK Stalin made a plea to the assembly's opposition members.

The statement comes after the DMK administration swept the local body elections. The Lok Sabha elections will not be held until 2024.

Under pressure to keep its election pledges, including a 3,000 monthly allowance for women heads of households, the ruling DMK is moving its focus from populism to reforms, putting the general public in jeopardy.

THE BJP has staged two statewide protests in the last two months.

The BJP, which has a little representation in the state, sees this as an opportunity to grow its foothold in the Dravidian heartland. The national party won four seats in assembly elections last year under the leadership of retired IPS officer Annamalai, and enhanced its tally in local government elections with more than 300 councillors out of about 13,000 seats.

A BJP worker, DR A Suryanarayan, is optimistic.

"The BJP will win at least 10 seats in 2024, and we will take power in Tamil Nadu in 2026," he said.