Beginning April 1, shell out 20% more cash to register property in Punjab. No prank. In a first step towards imposing “indirect” taxes before presenting the state budget in July, the “cash-strapped” alliance government of the Shiromani Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) has, in principle, decided to increase the collector rate for the levy of stamp duty on the deeds of sale, lease right of transfer, and gift. It will put a burden of Rs 580 crore on public in the financial year 2012-13. Objections? Take a hike.
To jack up revenue
The district collectors were the competent authority to decide on the quantum of increase in collector rates, AR Talwar, who was financial com-missioner (revenue) until Friday, confirmed on telephone before the change of his assignment. “The state government plans to up its revenue by 20% in the next fiscal on the back of this hike.”
Punjab had planned to collect revenue of Rs 2,900 crore from property registration and related activities in the current financial year. “We have collected Rs 2,526 crore by January,” said Talwar. “The February figure (being assessed) is estimated to be Rs 190 crore. We’ll hit the target.”
Duty to pay
“The subdivisional magistrates have orders to settle public objections and propose collector-rate hike for respective jurisdictions,” district collector Priyank Bharti confirmed, adding that there was no legal provision that seeking public objections was mandatory before announcing such a hike.
The Indian government had instructed the states to keep stamp duty up to 3% to encourage the applicants to reveal actual purchase price of the property during sale-deed registration. The Punjab government, however, has levied nearly 10% in direct and indirect charges.
Prepare for heat
The common man is likely to face the heat this summer because of the revision of collector rates, contrary to his expectations of the new government announcing some relief. The hike may pull down growth of the housing sector as well.
Opposition ready, too
The Congress view is that the Badal government that targeted the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime at the Centre for taxes in the union budget is itself going to transfer a huge burden to people by increasing collector rates irrationally only to fill its empty coffers.
“The Congress will oppose the collector rate increase,” said Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Congress member of parliament from Jalandhar. “The hike will affect the poor and middle class. It should not be implemented,” he added.