The Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to impose property tax in the region from April 1, 2023, according to a notification issued by the Housing and Urban Development department. The decision has sparked controversy, with former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeting “No Taxation Without Representation,” and questioning why people in J&K should pay state taxes, including the proposed property tax, when they have no say in how the government is run.
The notification stated that the property tax will be levied, assessed and collected in the Municipalities and Municipal Councils of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir under the Jammu and Kashmir Property Tax (Other Municipalities) Rules, 2023. The government’s move comes after it was given permission by the Ministry of Home Affairs in October 2020 to impose property taxes in the region through Municipal Corporations, Municipal Councils, and Municipal Committees.
The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization (Adaptation of State Laws) Order, 2020, amended the Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Act, 2000, and the Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Corporation Act, 2000. This amendment paved the way for the imposition of property taxes in the region.
The decision has not gone down well with many residents of Jammu and Kashmir, who are already struggling with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have questioned the need for the tax, especially when the region is still reeling from the impact of the political changes that took place in 2019, which saw the region lose its autonomous status.
The government, on the other hand, has defended the move, stating that the revenue generated from the tax will be used to fund development projects in the region. The tax is expected to generate a significant amount of revenue for the government, which will be used to improve the region’s infrastructure and public services.
However, many locals have expressed their anger and frustration at the decision, stating that they have no say in how their government is run and that they are being forced to pay taxes without any representation. They have also criticized the government for imposing the tax at a time when people are already struggling to make ends meet.
Sara Hayat Shah, who is the spokesperson of JKNC, has also expressed her disappointment at the government’s decision to impose property tax in the region. In a tweet, she stated that the people of J&K are being treated like cattle, with no say in the decisions that are being made each day. She also pointed out that the region is currently going through a severe economic crisis, making it even more difficult for people to cope with the added burden of the tax. Her tweet highlights the frustration and anger felt by many locals, who feel that they are being ignored by the government and are being forced to pay taxes without any representation.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration will need to work hard to address the concerns of the people and ensure that they understand the need for the tax. It is important that the government ensures that the revenue generated from the tax is used for the benefit of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and that they are given a say in how their government is run.