Taxes set to dominate cabinet meeting today
The uncertainty over the Punjab government's much-talked-about additional resource mobilisation (ARM) exercise - imposing taxes - is likely to be over soon, with chief minister Parkash Singh Badal deciding to hold a cabinet meeting on Tuesday evening.
The government's notice to hold the meeting set into motion a flurry of activities for preparing the agenda.
The cabinet will meet in the backdrop of alleged sharp differences between alliance partners Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the ARM exercise. While the SAD leadership is in favour of taking bold steps in view of the grim fiscal health of the state, the BJP has reservations over the imposition of certain taxes.
There are a number of measures which the alliance partners have discussed; if implemented, these are expected to mobilise over Rs 3,000 crore additional revenue, government sources said.
Among the ARM proposals likely to be debated and discussed by the cabinet are levying of property tax (Rs 500 crore), professional tax (Rs 600 crore), and rationalisation of value-added tax. It is on the Delhi pattern that the government is planning to impose property tax.
The SAD-BJP leadership has also agreed to increase the retirement age of state government employees from 58 to 60 years. This move, if approved by the council of ministers, is expected to save Rs 1,000 crore annually. However, this issue may not be part of Tuesday's meeting, government sources said