In a remarkable feat of governance, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has revolutionized the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) with an astounding surge in property tax collection within a mere six months of assuming power. Under the visionary leadership of the AAP government, the MCD has witnessed an unprecedented increase, with property tax collection for the first quarter of 2023-24 amounting to a staggering INR 1,113 crore. This extraordinary achievement marks a surge of approximately INR 400 crore, compared to the previous year’s first-quarter collection of INR 695 Crore.

Celebrating the achievement AAP National Convenor and Delhi CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “After AAP formed govt in MCD, people themselves have started paying tax properly. They know that now there is an honest government and every penny they pay will be spent on development. Earlier, people did not pay taxes during the time of BJP. They thought that the tax they paid gets stolen.”

AAP MCD in-charge and MLA, Shri Durgesh Pathak expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the people of Delhi for showing their unwavering support for the AAP’s transformative efforts, marking a significant milestone in the city’s history. “This remarkable achievement demonstrates the public’s trust in the AAP’s commitment to transparency and effective governance, eradicating the corruption that plagued the MCD under the previous BJP regime. We are propelling the MCD towards a prosperous future, with the potential to operate profitably within the next 3-4 years,” he said.

During a press conference on Monday, Shri Durgesh Pathak, highlighted the transformative measures undertaken by the AAP government and unveiled the consequent remarkable achievements, particularly the significant increase in house and property tax collection. He shared that the house and property tax collection figures for three consecutive financial years during a three-month period from April 1st to June 30th, showcased a substantial increase after AAP assumed power in the MCD.

He said, “During the previous 15-year-old tenure of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the yearly increments in property tax collection by the MCD were relatively very modest, fluctuating generally ranging between INR 20 to 30 crores. However, after AAP came to power recently, the MCD accomplished an astonishing increase of approximately INR 400 crores compared to the same quarter last year. For the first quarter of fiscal year 2021-22, the MCD’s collection amounted to INR 539 crores, followed by a rise to INR 695 crores in Q1 of the subsequent year, 2022-23. Even during their best year, BJP managed to increase tax collections by merely INR 100 crores. However, a significant turning point occurred when the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) assumed power and our appointed mayor took office. Since then, the collection skyrocketed to an impressive INR 1,113 crores for Q1 of the year 2023-24.”

Shri Durgesh Pathak highlighted the rampant corruption that defined the MCD during the Bharatiya Janata Party’s 15-year tenure, which left the citizens of Delhi disenchanted and sceptical about the allocation of their hard-earned tax money. He stated, “In the past, there has been a lack of enthusiasm among citizens when it comes to paying taxes, as they were sceptical and disheartened about the corruption in the utilisation of those funds by the politicians.”

Outlining the extent of the corruption issue, he cited examples of the insufficiency of MCD’s resources for even the simplest tasks. He said, “The BJP government, during their 15-year tenure in the MCD, failed to address critical issues like pending salaries of employees, lack of medical supplies and treatment in hospitals, etc, primarily owing to their rampant corruption. When AAP first came to power in the MCD, the corporation did not even have the funds available to carry out tree pruning in Delhi, something which requires only 20 to 25 machines. The salaries of the MCD staff were pending for 8 to 10 months, in many cases. These problems must be attributed to the pervasive corruption that existed during the BJP’s tenure.”

However, the AAP leader emphasised that the situation has changed under the current AAP administration, further underscoring the record increase in house tax and property tax collection, a feat never before accomplished in Delhi’s history. “The emergence of AAP in Delhi led to a wave of enthusiasm among residents, resulting in a swift and honest deposit of house and property tax payments. From INR 695 crores in 2022-23, it directly increased to INR 1,113 crores in 2023-24! This means the increase has been around INR 400 crores within a few months of the AAP government leading the MCD. The substantial increase in tax collection within a short span of three months demonstrates the public’s faith in the AAP government’s commitment to transparency and effective governance.”

AAP’s MCD-in-charge also conveyed great optimism regarding the early trends under the AAP government, which has been in power for a relatively short period of less than six months. He noted that the positive developments observed so far indicate a shift towards transparency and effective governance in the MCD. “The initial efforts of the AAP within the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) have been commendable, receiving an impressive response from the people of Delhi. They have placed their trust in the honest governance of the AAP, knowing that their tax contributions will be utilised judiciously and transparently, with no room for corruption. AAP’s relentless pursuit of honesty, transparency, and good governance will continue to elevate the MCD’s standing and foster a prosperous future for Delhi residents. I am confident that within the next 2-3 years, the MCD would become self-sufficient, no longer requiring external financial assistance and will be operating profitably for the first time.”

Shri Durgesh Pathak expressed his appreciation for the support and active participation of the people under the honest AAP government and emphasised the need for continued support from the people of Delhi to sustain and further enhance the progress achieved thus far. He stated, “With utmost sincerity, I want to express my gratitude to the people of Delhi. They have shown their unwavering support for the AAP and played an instrumental role in bringing about an unprecedented miraculous transformation within the MCD. The faith reposed in the AAP by the people of Delhi means everything to us since it is our only capital.”

Shri Durgesh Pathak also lauded the visionary leadership of AAP national convener, Shri Arvind Kejriwal, and said, “The populace of Delhi is well aware of the commendable work carried out by their beloved son Arvind Kejriwal, who currently serves as their Chief Minister. Since the AAP came into power in Delhi government in 2015, its budget has witnessed extraordinary growth from a mere INR 25,000 crores to nearly INR 75,000 crores today. With AAP taking the reins of the MCD, the residents of Delhi have placed their faith in Shri Arvind Kejriwal’s leadership again, leading to a tremendous surge in tax collections as a show of support for the AAP government’s integrity and effective governance.”

Shri Durgesh Pathak also extended his appreciation to the Mayor of Delhi, Ms Shelly Oberoi, Deputy Mayor Shri Aale Mohammad Iqbal, Presiding Officer Shri Mukesh Goyal, and MCD Commissioner of Delhi Shri Gyanesh Bharti for their unwavering commitment to transforming the MCD. He credited the concerted efforts of the entire House Tax Department and Property Tax Department, as well as all the officials involved, for establishing an efficient and transparent system that facilitates greater citizen participation. He also commended the entire MCD team, along with all the councillors and their teams.

Furthermore, addressing concerns regarding the recent allegation of transportation and disposal of solid waste from Delhi to a waste processing facility in Ghaziabad, AAP’s MCD-in-charge Shri Durgesh Pathak expressed confusion over the emergence of political motives in this matter, asserting that it appears that everything is proceeding in compliance with the legal regulations. He also assured the public that a comprehensive inquiry has been ordered to further investigate the alleged incidents.

He stated, “Prima facie, it appears that it was Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) that was being carried legally to the waste-to-energy plant in Badarpur of a company that the said concessionaire had a partnership with. The responsibility for processing and disposing of Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) lies with the concessionaires hired under the MCD’s tender. The concessionaires sign their own Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide it to the appropriate systems for further processing. Nevertheless, a comprehensive investigation has been initiated to determine the truth of the situation. If there has been any wrongdoing in this matter, we will take immediate action against those responsible for the same. The companies currently involved in waste management in Delhi had been on-boarded through a tender by the previous BJP government, and no new tenders have been issued by the current AAP administration.”

He also addressed questions about the potential impact of BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’ in Delhi, in light of the recent development in Maharashtra, where Shri Ajit Pawar split the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and supported the NDA government. Explaining the BJP’s well-defined modus operandi, senior AAP leader Shri Durgesh Pathak said, “Firstly, BJP creates internal discord in other political parties and coalitions to destabilise the incumbent government and come to power. If their initial efforts fail, they attempt to lure MLAs from other parties with monetary offers, effectively bribing and buying them out. If this fails, their third strategy involves leveraging and exploiting cases against political leaders by central agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), to blackmail and coerce them into joining their party. The BJP follows a well-defined Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), consistently employing these strategies nationwide.”

Drawing attention to recent incidents that exemplify this SOP, AAP leader Shri Durgesh Pathak pointed out, “A few months ago, several AAP MLAs held a press conference to expose similar attempts by the BJP in Delhi. From Karnataka, even audio recordings have come to light revealing how BJP members bribe and buy MLAs. In Maharashtra, most MLAs that have fallen prey to the BJP’s Operation Lotus are individuals with cases by ED, CBI, and similar agencies pending against them.”

Undeterred by such tactics, Shri Durgesh Pathak asserted that the AAP remains resilient, as none of their MLAs has succumbed to the BJP’s overtures. “AAP has endured numerous similar attempts by the BJP in Delhi.“Despite two key AAP leaders being incarcerated through ED and CBI, none of our MLAs had defected to the BJP. BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’ has failed in Delhi,” he concluded.

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