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HindustanTimes Mon,20 Oct 2014

Badal fears anarchy over wealth tax on farmland

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, April 28, 2013
First Published: 22:13 IST(28/4/2013) | Last Updated: 14:27 IST(29/4/2013)

Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday cautioned Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh against what he described as "a serious conflagration of social disorder, anarchy and economic crisis" in the event of wealth tax being levied on agriculture lands in the country.

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In a letter written Badal requested PM's intervention to ensure that agriculture land was not brought under the ambit of wealth tax act. Punjab CM also sought intervention of Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram and other union ministries.

Badal also took initiative to build a "political and social" consensus against imposition of the tax. He wrote separate letters to leaders of national and regional political parties, their MPs, urging them to oppose the move. Healso wrote to Chief Ministers of all states on the issue.

"The decision of Government of India to impose wealth tax on all agriculture lands falling within aerial distance of 8 kilometers of municipal committee/notified area committee/corporation by treating them as urban lands in fraught with serious dangers and has brought country to bring of economic crisis and social disorder," says CM's letter.

Questioning the logic of imposition of the tax, Badal said, "as agriculture land by its very definition is a productive asset, it can by no stretch of imagination be brought within the ambit of wealth tax," recalled that Prime Minister as Finance Minister in 1992 assured the parliament to impose wealth tax only in respect of non-productive assets

Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, also president of the SAD, are awaiting a response to their request for personal audience with the Prime Minister on this issue. They are likely to meet the PM on April 30 or May 1.

Badal described the imposition of this tax as extremely dangerous step. He pointed that every farmer would have to pay wealth tax in the range of Rs. 30,000 to 70,000 per acre annually whereas the annual agriculture production of the farmer was far much less than this tax.

This would lead to alarming discontent and unrest across the country, said Badal asking centre to reconsider impending implications of law and order situation as it could provide a breeding ground for naxalism and put the national security in jeopardy.

CM is likely to call on the BJP National President Rajnath Singh, President of Janta Dal United and Convener of NDA Sharad Yadav, President of Samajvadi Party Mulayam Singh Yadav, Janta Dal president Lalu Prasad Yadav and leaders of the regional and national political parties to build a consensus against the imposition of wealth tax. Earlier on April 26, in a meeting council of ministers were unanimous for not imposing tax and demanded a emergency session of vidhan sabha be convened.

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