The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) drive to geotag commercial and residential properties in the Capital has received a poor response, with just 78,000 properties being geotagged by their owners — far short of the target of 1.5 million properties by the end of January, civic officials aware of the matter said on Thursday.
Geotagging properties means digitally mapping a property with the geographic information system (GIS). This means that a property can be identified on a map with its unique and permanent latitude and longitude coordinates. To do this, property owners must download MCD’s mobile app, and while present at their property, select the “current location” and link it with any unique property identification code (UPIC).
Delhi is estimated to have more than 3 million buildings, but only 1.3 million are registered with MCD.
The purpose of geotagging properties is to bring more property owners under the tax net and improve the delivery of civic services, officials said.
“Geotagging of properties by taxpayers will provide a location-wise identification of individual properties and will enable better provisioning of service delivery to residents. It will also help catch properties that are not paying taxes,” said an MCD official, on condition of anonymity.
While other information may be dynamic, the latitude-longitude band information about a property is permanent, the official said. “Once the entire database is ready, it will help bring a more transparent and responsive property tax regime in Delhi,” the official added.
A second MCD official said there are 1.2 million properties that pay property tax, of which 300,000 are commercial. MCD, in its annual building safety survey in 2023, said there are 2,978,469 properties in the city.
On June 5, 2023, MCD launched its mobile app so property owners could geotag their properties. On December 7 of last year, MCD set a target of geotagging 1,500,000 properties by January 31, 2024. To give property owners an incentive, MCD announced that its 10% rebate on the advance payment of property tax for the next financial year would only be given to those who geotag their properties before the January deadline.
However, resident welfare associations (RWAs) in the city suggested two reasons why so few properties have been geotagged — first, glitches in the mobile application with which residents are supposed to geotag their properties, and second, MCD not effectively advertising the drive and its importance to people.
“It has practical problems. We have written to MCD that the app was non-operational on iOS. Moreover, the process requires you to upload three photographs from different sides of the property, which is not possible in apartments,” said Atul Goyal, who heads Urja (United RWAs Joint Action) — a collective body of RWAs.
Rajesh Panwar, who heads the Federation of Vasant Kunj RWAs, said people were still unaware of the drive. “Simply issuing a notice will not make people aware of such a big undertaking. MCD officials have to hold awareness camps in neighbourhoods to demonstrate the geotagging process and make people aware of its importance. No such drive has been undertaken in Vasant Kunj,” said Panwar.
A third MCD official said the civic body is anticipating a rush in geotagged properties in the coming weeks as such exercises usually witness a spike around deadlines.
Mayor Shelly Oberoi said, “We will take a review in the last week of the month and then take a final call. We are still processing the data.”