Bengaluru: Over the past three fiscals, tax collection at the gram panchayat (GP) level has increased by almost fivefold. It has risen from Rs 100 crore in 2015-16 to nearly Rs 500 crore in 2018-19.

Rural development and panchayat raj president LK Atheeq reportedly said that tax collection at GP level is important for self-reliance. He also went ahead to say that the government initiative to place strong emphasis on tax collection by spreading awareness and by setting challenging targets for officials have started to show results.

GPs in coastal districts of Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts recorded 100% tax collection. These regions have the highest literacy rate. Meanwhile, the tax collected in the most backward districts in Hyderabad-Karnataka region was recorded the lowest.

The GPs in the Malnad districts of Kodagu, Shivamogga, Chikkamagaluru, Bengaluru urban, Bengaluru rural and Kolar districts have also recorded high tax collection. These regions have high literacy rates. The department records reportedly show that the tax collection in these regions is between 90% to 97%.

Efforts from panchayat officials and a change in the mindset of people were reportedly major contributing factors to the high tax collection seen in these areas. The convenor of a rural development organisation, N Rajagopal reportedly said that people in rural areas were earlier indifferent to paying taxes as they felt that no one would question the evasion. He said that the change in attitude has been seen after they realised that if they pay taxes on time, their villages will be developed further.

He also stated that awareness programs by panchayat raj officials, frequent calls by public representatives urging villagers to pay taxes and continuous monitoring has also helped GPs achieve a record collection, reports stated.