Punjab assembly passes Bill to levy infrastructure development cess on petrol, diesel

Purchase of immovable property to also invite the fee; government to collect 216 crore revenue annually on this count
Aam Aadmi Party MLAs protesting against the imposition of new tax outside the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in Chandigarh on Wednesday. (Ravi Kumar/ HT)
Aam Aadmi Party MLAs protesting against the imposition of new tax outside the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in Chandigarh on Wednesday. (Ravi Kumar/ HT)
Published on Mar 11, 2021 01:23 AM IST
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By Ravinder Vasudeva, Chandigarh

The Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday passed a Bill for enabling the government to levy special infrastructure development fee on petrol, diesel and purchase of immovable property to generate additional revenue of 216.16 crore.

Finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal presented the bill that got approval of the House amid a pandemonium created by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) members.

The infrastructure development fee would be imposed at the rate of 0.25 per litre each on the sale of petrol and diesel in the state. Likewise, special fee at the rate of 0.25 would also be levied for every 100 rupees of the value of purchase of immovable property.

“The bill proposes to impose fee to accelerate the pace of infrastructure development in the state and creating additional revenue streams for the purpose,” Manpreet said.

The provisions of the bill, after getting the governor’s nod, would be applicable from April 1. The collected revenue will be deposited in the development fund of the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB).

Bill for dismissing govt employee for red tape

The House also passed the Punjab Anti-Red Tape Bill-2021 with the voice vote that gives the power to the government to dismiss a government official or other employees for unnecessary delay in providing services to the citizens and businessmen.

The provisions of the bill make it mandatory for the departments to overhaul their process to reduce the burden of compliances by at least 50%, within six months from the commencement of the act.

All offices will also make these services available online within maximum one year of implementation of the Act and shall define their service processes to be known as ‘promise to serve’ in the form of information boards to be installed at the main entrance of the offices, giving details of the officials responsible for each step, the maximum time to complete the process, and fee and procedure for a particular services.

All these services have to be provided without any middlemen and in case of delay the employee or officials will be liable for disciplinary action, including dismissal from services, and a fine not exceeding 50,000 in each case of violation.

“There will be no suit, prosecution or legal proceedings against the government, or its authorities,” reads the act.

A total of 12 bills were passed on Wednesday within half an hour without inviting questions from the ruling or opposition members.

Other bills passed were the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Amendment Bill; Punjab School Education Board (Amendment) Bill; Punjab Apartment Ownership (Amendment) Bill; Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Bill; Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation (Amendment) Bill; Sardar Beant Singh State University Bill; Shaheed Bhagat Singh State University Bill and the Punjab Abadi Deh (Record of Rights) Bill.

MLAs raise demand for flags on official cars

When the session was about to end, the ruling Congress MLAs raised demand for installing flags on their official cars. Congress MLA (Khanna) Gurkirat Singh Kotli claimed that it was a collective demand of the legislators. On this, the speaker said he had raised the issue with the Punjab advocate general who denied installing flags on official cars of MLAs. “But you can take up the issue o your own level with the government,” said the speaker.

Cong legislators condemn opposition’s behaviour

The ruling Congress MLAs condemned the behaviour of the opposition MLAs during their protest to oppose a reply by finance minister Manpreet Badal on the budget discussions.

Earlier, the SAD MLAs led by Bikram Majithia stormed the well of the House to oppose Manpreet’s reply. The AAP members, led by leader of opposition Harpal Cheema also stormed the well to oppose the budget speech and later stood on their seats to oppose passing of some bills.

Navjot Singh Sidhu demanded that proceedings should be telecast live so that people of the state get to know about the unruly behaviour of their MLAs.

State aarliamentary affairs minister Brahm Mohindra said the standard of the opposition to raise their protest has been lowering and it was a cause of concern.

The speaker also condemned the opposition MLAs.

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Sunday, October 24, 2021