Govt may drop wealth tax on farm land

Finance Minister P Chidambaram is expected to withdraw the one per cent wealth tax on agricultural land proposed earlier when he moves the Finance Bill

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: April 30, 2013 2:15:23 am

Finance Minister P Chidambaram is expected to withdraw the one per cent wealth tax on agricultural land proposed earlier when he moves the Finance Bill for passage in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

Indications to this effect came following an assurance he gave to a delegation of party MPs from northern states led by Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Punjab PCC chief Pratap Singh Bajwa,who called on him to seek his intervention on the issue.

“The Finance Minister has assured us that there will be no levy of wealth tax on agricultural land and we are satisfied with his assurance,” Hooda told reporters after the meeting with the Union Finance Minister.

“We said wealth tax should not be levied on agricultural land. Chidambaram has assured that the UPA government has a policy that there will not be any wealth tax on agricultural land,” the Haryana Chief Minister added.

The group had earlier met Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Parliament over the issue. “Farmers were very emotional over the issue. The UPA has fulfilled its commitment that wealth tax will not be levied on agricultural land,” Bajwa said.

The matter was also raised by the opposition BJP,whose ally in Punjab,the Akali Dal,has already raised a hue and cry on the issue and has proposed a series of dharnas and protests.

Senior BJP leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha also wrote a letter to Chidambaram,expressing concern over imposition of wealth tax on agricultural land,particularly on those whose land falls within municipal areas as they would have to shell out huge amounts.

In his letter,Sinha requested Chidambaram to move an “urgent amendment” to the Finance Bill that will be coming up for discussion and passage in Lok Sabha and undo the “wrong to the agriculturists with retrospective effect”.

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