In India, city administrations, especially urban local bodies, depend heavily on property tax revenues. However, not all municipal corporations in the country are rich; they have to depend heavily on state or Central grants.
While on one hand, the country’s richest civic body — the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai — presents a Rs 37,052 crore budget, there are many corporations whose budgets do not even touch the five-figure mark. Such is the irony!
However, the Council’s lead partner, Thomson Reuters, has a proven solution that can turn India’s corporations into revenue generators. Its Aumentum, an integrated land management solution, is an “Enterprise Platform” that provides governments or city administrations a foundational level automation of internal office functions.
This solution also helps in managing land & property ownership rights, automating mass appraisal valuation processes and property fee/duty collection.
A case in point would be Cape Town in South Africa which implemented the solution. Here, KPMG conducted an RoI methodology to examine the benefit of Aumentum. Due to this solution, in three years since its implementation in 2006, the city has witnessed reduction in taxpayers’ objections by nearly two-thirds from 100,000 to 36,000. This solution has also helped the city in adding as many as 2.36 lakh properties to its tax roll with an increase in assessment of 330 per cent.
So how has this solution managed to hike the revenues to such levels? Aumentum has intercepted, intervened and improved various levels of operations. At the department level, the solution has helped in reducing the turnaround time from 20 days to five days, coupled with staff reduction from 407 in 2006 to 176 in 2015.
Importantly, the city administration has also managed to reduce its external financial support from 54 million rand to 18.6 million rand. At the city level, the solution has helped in authenticating ownership more quickly. This has helped the city planning authority in proper property valuation, helping it to use ownership data for better city planning, coupled with frequent valuations to calculate tax rate.
The solution has components that take care of land administration, valuation, finance and tax billing. In land administration, Aumentum gathers the entire data, feeding a real-time hub which is linked with geospatial data. The real-time data capture along with geospatial information ensures that every sale or purchase transaction is immediately reflected in the database.
The second important component taken care of by this automated process is valuation of properties. Whether it is stamp duty associated with the transaction fee, or determining the value at which individuals can pay their property tax, Aumentum takes care of the same. Its administrative component portion serves to administer the legal aspects of the valuation.
The system ensures that the tax is appropriately levied on each parcel of land based on the legal requirements of the specific municipal corporation. This is the calculation engine for the billing & collections function of the platform, the fourth component of the system.