The Punjab cabinet on Saturday okayed the regularisation of unauthorised colonies across the state and also gave green signal to the implementation of property tax.
The policy of regularising the unauthorised colonies and buildings will be applicable in the entire state for a period of one year -- from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014.
Only unapproved colonies or buildings constructed before April 1, 2013 will be considered under the policy.
A spokesperson of the Chief Minister's Office said it would be a big relief to about 5,000 colonies and two lakh individual plot-holders and building owners across the state.
The unauthorised colonies and buildings will be regularised under the Punjab Laws (Special Provisions) Act-2013.
The decision to this affect was taken under the chairmanship of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal at Punjab Bhawan here on Saturday morning.
The builders are required to pay composition fee for compounding their offences, under this policy.
The fee would vary from area to area for the colonies developed before and after August 2007. The approximate rates of composition fee vary between Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 15 lakh per acre. Similarly, the individual plot or building owners could come forward for regularisation by paying charges which would vary from Rs 50 per square yard to Rs 500 per square yard. The money so collected would be used for providing basic amenities in these colonies.
The policy focuses on bringing all unauthorised colonies and buildings into the planning framework and to regularise the development, which would further facilitate the smooth implementation of the master plans across the state to ensure entire urban development in a holistic manner.
This would be one-time opportunity given by the government to builders and plot holders to get their offence regularised and to improve the amenities in these areas.
The entire process will be completed by March 31, 2014 after the scrutiny of applications.
However, the colonies constructed over the land belonging to state or central government, public undertakings, panchayat lands, Waqf Board land under the Punjab Land Preservation Act and others would not be covered under this policy.
If any builder does not apply within 60 days of the notification of the policy, legal proceedings through registration of FIR would be initiated.
Similarly, for these colonies if the individual plot/building owners do not apply under this scheme then the registration of their plots would cease and power, water supply, sewerage connections would be disconnected.
The cabinet also gave green signal to amend the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911, and the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, in accordance with the recommendations of the cabinet sub-committee regarding the imposition of property tax in the state besides securing revenue for the urban local bodies.
The cabinet also decided to give a slew of concessions under the property tax.
Concessions under property tax
From the earlier house tax of 15% of the annual rental value for the commercial rented property, the rates have been drastically reduced to 10%, and for rental residential property, tax rates have been brought down from 10% to 7.5% annually.
Similarly, for non-rented commercial property, the rates have been reduced from 15% to 3% of the annual value. For self-occupied houses up to 50 square yards, a consolidated Rs 50 per year would be charged and for houses between 50 to 100 sq yards the annual consolidated tax of Rs 150 would be charged.
For self-occupied house having area between 100 to 500 square yards, a property tax of 0.5% of the annual value and for self-occupied residence above 500 square yards, a tax of 1% of the annual value would be charged. For vacant plots and unutilised buildings and plots, the property tax would be charged at the rate of 0.20% of the annual value.
All religious institutions, gaushallas, care centres for stray animals and charitable institutions besides freedom fighters and people living below poverty line have been exempted from property tax.
Widows and differently abled persons have been given a rebate up to Rs 5,000 from property tax, meaning if a widow or differentally abled person was to pay Rs 6,000 as property tax, he would be liable to pay only Rs 1,000.
All educational institutions which were not even covered under charitable institutions have now been provided 50% rebate on property tax.
In order to give further impetus to the all-round and inclusive development of the state, the cabinet also gave nod to the amendment in the Land Pooling Policy to enable landowners to become partners in development process. Under this amendment, a fixed sum of the value of land would be ensured to the landowners.
In yet another path-breaking decision, the council of ministers gave the go-ahead to the Punjab Compulsory Registration Marriage Rules-2013 for registering the marriages of residents of Punjab. All marriages are now to be compulsorily registered under these rules within 90 days of the solemnisation of marriages.
The cabinet also decided to amend the Punjab Ministers' Travelling Allowance Rules, 1953, and the Chief Parliamentary Secretary/Parliamentary Secretary Travelling Allowance Rules-2006 to enhance the mileage from Rs 12 to Rs 15 per kilometre on the usage of their private vehicles in lieu of official cars.