A Digital India Initiative

Surat – Improvement in Property Tax recovery by effective use of Data

July 2, 2019 Author : Chaitanya Bhatt

Property tax is the annual amount paid by a land/property owner to the local government or the municipal corporation of his area. The property includes all tangible real estate property, his house, office building and the property he has rented to others.

In India, the municipal corporation of a particular area assesses and imposes the property tax annually or semi-annually. In Surat, citizens are required to pay property tax is annually. The calculation of Property Tax is done based on Area based assessment which includes the area, construction, property size, building etc. Property tax is considered as one of the major source of revenue for Municipal Corporations. Hence it is important for municipal corporations to ensure that tax recovery is higher. The property tax bill also includes various user charges which are listed below:

  1. Property Tax
  2. Water Charge
  3. Drainage Charge
  4. Solid Waste Charge
  5. Street Light Charge
  6. Fire Charge
  7. Environment Improvement Charge
  8. Education Cess

For better administration, Surat Municipal Corporation has divided the city area in 8 (Eight) zones and zones are further divided into wards and sub wards. Surat Municipal Corporation has taken various measures to increase property tax recovery. Citizens can make payment of their Property Tax through various modes listed as under:

  1. Physical Mode
    1. City Civic Center (Jan Seva Kendra)
    2. Mobile Tax Collection Van
    3. Integrated Ward Offices
  2. Virtual Mode (Online)
    1. SMC’s Online Services web portal
    2. SMC Mobile App

Citizens are offered 10% rebate on Property Tax component during month of April and 7% rebate is offered on Property Tax component during month of May. If the payment is made using a digital mode (i.e. Through Credit Card / Debit Card / Net Banking / Wallets etc.) additional 2% discount is offered to citizens on payment of Property Tax. After completion of advance tax payment period (April and May) sub-ward wise bills are issued to citizens intimating them to make payment of their Property Tax. Once, the bills are issued, it is important for city administration to monitor Property Tax recovery of entire city. To help the city administration in better monitoring and management of Property Tax, Surat Municipal Corporation has utilized various IT components which help them in better decision making and resource utilization.

For the efficient monitoring and management of municipal services it is important that authorities makes sense of the data received from respective domain system to get intelligent insights through systems. This makes it easy for the various departments to identify potential problems and take corrective actions promptly and efficiently. Delivered through an interactive interface, this helps stakeholders leverage information with near real-time visibility to critical data helping them make informed decisions.

Key points to be considered as part of solution

  • Tracking of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that help managers monitor and optimize city services, personnel programs and other resources
  • Centralized, real-time collaborative environment that helps in planning, organizing, monitoring and information sharing across city departments and agencies
  • SOPs (standard operating procedures) enabling city officials to respond faster and better in case of abnormal events.
  • Workflows that automate and track SOPs for consistency and audit purpose


The data generated through Property Tax System along with Geo Coordinated boundaries of Zone, Ward and Sub-Wards are used for better monitoring and management of Property Tax System. City wide coloured maps are created on real time basis to understand the tax recovery patterns in the entire city area. The coloured maps are created based on various parameters as required for better administration of Property Tax System. Some of the parameters considered at Surat for Property Tax System are as under:

  • Situational awareness of Property Tax defaulters (tenements) where outstanding on Current Demand is more than INR 1 Lakh (Value is configurable to create different scenario)
  • Situational awareness of Property Tax defaulters (tenements) where outstanding on Arrears Demand is more than INR 1 Lakh. (Value is configurable to create different scenario)
  • Situational awareness of tenements where Warrants/Blue Notice/Green Notice have been issued or where Auction is necessary.
  • Situational awareness of tenements where New Properties are registered or Tumar has been noted.
  • Situational awareness of tenements that have a 3/2 entry


The scenario shown above describes sub-ward wise pending recovery for property tax. The area where percentage of pending tax recovery is under acceptable range is shown in green. The area where percentage of pending tax recovery requires monitoring is shown in Amber and the area where percentage of pending tax recovery is high (pending tax payment is very high – Area requiring critical attention) are shown in Red. This simple colour based representation of the system, helps city authorities to understand where immediate attention is required and whom to be notified to take necessary actions. This helps in only reviewing the area requiring attention rather than reviewing the entire city performance. Further, drilldown information is made available (list of tenements where tax collection is pending, concern SMC officer of the area etc.) for better administration. Provision to trigger SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) is provided to notify concern officers to take necessary action.




Following graph describes the Property Tax collected for Financial Year 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19. One of the important factor for continuous increase in tax collection is also the additional monitoring using various datasets prepared under Open Data Initiative.

To implement such system following details are required:

  1. City, Zone and Ward boundaries in KML (This can be made in Google Earth)
  2. A Base Map (Google, Open Street Map etc.)
  3. Ward wise Property Tax system details to be linked with GIS Map
  4. Creation of APIs to link Property Tax System with the Map based monitoring system
  5. Creation of uses cases (The scenario which city authority want to monitor)