The Congress led Punjab government on Monday ruled out imposing fresh taxes despite “precarious” financial condition of the state.
“No tax is going to be imposed,” state finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal said while putting rest to the speculations that the government was mulling new taxes in the state in the wake “poor” fiscal condition. “Try to understand, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has been implemented in the country and no elbow room is left for introducing new tax in the state,” he further said.
Badal hoped that the state had been assured of 14 per cent rise in revenue for next five years by the Centre. With a revenue deficit of Rs 14,784 crore, Punjab’s debt burden is expected to reach Rs 1.95 lakh crore by the end of current fiscal. On debt waiver, Badal said T Haque, chairman of expert group to assess the quantum of agricultural debt and suggest ways and means for its waiver, will meet bankers soon in this regard. “We think in next 60 days, we will be able to implement debt waiver fully,” he said.
The Punjab government had already announced total waiver of crop loans up to Rs 2 lakh of small and marginal farmers, and a flat Rs 2 lakh relief for all marginal farmers, irrespective of the loan amount.