Drum beating campaign drives defaulters to clear arrears

Agence France Presse

Hyderabad, April 1:

A southern Indian city’s decision to hire musicians to beat drums outside the homes of tax defaulters until they pay up has yielded rich dividends, an official said today.

For a month tax defaulters in Andhra Pradesh state’s Rajmundary city, some 500 km south of the state capital Hyderabad, were literally forced to face the music as tax collectors hired drummers to play non-stop outside their homes.

When the unconventional tax collection drive ended yesterday, the majority of defaulters had cleared their dues, said TSR Anjaneyulu, municipal commissioner of Rajahmundry.

“It’s been a resounding success. We managed to collect 25 million of the 37.5 million rupees that was outstanding in terms of taxes owed to the city corporation,” Anjaneyulu said.

The corporation hired 10 drummers and set up five teams which accompanied by tax inspectors visited tax defaulters.

“We kept up the pressure by refusing to stop the drumming until they finally paid up.” This innovative move is part of an ongoing reform drive to improve tax collections in the city,” Anjaneyulu said. Local officials say this year the corporation’s tax collection

had touched an all time high of 95.6 per cent. “The results have been so encouraging that we’ve decided to use the drum-beating drive twice a year,” he said. In September, the drummers will be sent out to recover half-yearly taxes.