BJP falls in line,says yes to taxes

Having done its bit by customarily opposing it,the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday agreed to senior ally Shiromani Akali Dal’s proposal to impose a bevy of taxes paving way for the fund-starved state to mop up Rs 4,500 crore in revenue.

Written by Harpreet Bajwa | Chandigarh | Published: July 31, 2012 2:46:35 am

Having done its bit by customarily opposing it,the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday agreed to senior ally Shiromani Akali Dal’s (SAD) proposal to impose a bevy of taxes paving way for the fund-starved state to mop up Rs 4,500 crore in revenue.

The two parties,which met at Chief Minister PS Badal’s residence in the afternoon,agreed in principle to impose professional and property tax,raise the retirement age of government staff from 58 to 60 years,increase the VAT by 0.5 per cent and increase the stamp duty. Now,these financial proposals are expected to come up in the next cabinet meeting slated for August 5.

Apart from Badal,his son and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal,BJP state president Ashwani Sharma and a number of other senior leaders attended the meeting in which the saffron party agreed to the proposals mooted by the SAD. However,BJP expressed some reservations over the power subsidy bill,which,the party said,should be brought down as the power subsidy bill has skyrocketed from Rs 2,600 crore in 2007-08 to nearly Rs 5,800 crore this year. It also proposed a per horsepower charge on the tube well motors and suggested that big farmers should pay for the electricity consumed.

Though the SAD,whose vote bank is primarily the rural population,including the farmers,didn’t agree to the BJP’s objection,it however,formed a two-member committee comprising Finance Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa (SAD) and Health Minister Madan Mohan Mittal (BJP) to look into the rationalisation of the power subsidy bill.

Taxing Times

Retirement age of government staff to be raised from 58 to 60 years.

It will help save Rs 1,000 crore annually as no employee retires for next two years.

VAT to go up 0.5 per cent helping state garner Rs 500 crore. The Motor Vehicle Tax to go up by 2 per cent in all slabs,getting Rs 250 crore for the government.

Stamp duty to be increased from 8 per cent to 9 per cent in urban areas and from 5 per cent to 6 per cent in rural areas. Government’s expected earning: Rs 700 crore annually.

User,self-assessed property tax and user charges on water to be imposed. This will be different from the house tax being collected in the state.

The government to earn around Rs 400 crore from property tax.

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