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HindustanTimes Sun,26 Oct 2014

Punjab considering new tax proposals to raise Rs. 2,000 cr

PTI  Chandigarh, July 09, 2012
First Published: 19:19 IST(9/7/2012) | Last Updated: 19:28 IST(9/7/2012)

The Punjab government is considering proposals such as imposition of property tax, raising electricity duty and levy on mobile phone towers to raise additional Rs. 2,000 crore with a view to bringing weak fiscal position on the track.

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"These tax proposals will be discussed by the Punjab cabinet after Dasuya byelection (which is on July 11) to give a go ahead," official sources said here today.

Though Punjab Finance Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa did not levy fresh tax in state budget presented last month, he had said that state needed Rs. 2,000 crore which would be generated by cutting down unproductive expenditure, austerity measures and better tax compliance.

Among the new tax proposals, the Punjab government plans to raise electricity duty to generate Rs. 140 crore per annum. It has also planned to impose property tax which will enable the state government to have access to centrally sponsored scheme Jawahar Lal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

Another proposal prepared by Punjab Finance Department is to charge road tax on vehicles at uniform rate of 6 per cent instead of following slab system. It would fetch additional sum of about Rs. 200 crore to state exchequer, official sources said.

Removing a maximum cap of Rs. 30,000 while charging one per cent registration charges on sale and purchase of property is also being considered. "At present, even sale of property worth Rs. 1 crore, government gets only Rs. 30,000," sources informed while adding that it would also generate a sum of Rs. 100 crore.

Another proposal is to impose Rs. 1 lakh tax on mobile tower per cellular operator which will also realise a sum of Rs. 100 crore, they said.

Besides, directions to the government departments have also been issued to reduce their unproductive expenditure.

The state government had also hired the services of IDBI Bank to suggest how to bring down the expenditure of departments and it would submit its report within 3 months.

As part of austerity measures, Punjab government had already banned purchase of new vehicles, 10 per cent cut on ministers and chief parliamentary secretaries allowances, cut on fuel, electricity charges and it would bring annual saving of Rs. 250 crore to state exchequer.

Punjab, which has been declared a debt-stressed state, faces massive revenue deficit of Rs. 6,838 crore for 2011-12 while over 80 per cent of state's revenue expected to be consumed by rising committed expenditure including salary, pension and debt servicing.

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