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Soon: Pay more for fuel, power, vehicle registration in Punjab

The bigger shocker for the common man is the 5% surcharge on monthly electricity bills ranging between Rs 25-Rs 10,000. The bill also authorised government to have 10% share of the excise duty and license fee as chargeable under the Punjab Excise Act.

punjab Updated: Mar 29, 2018 09:46 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
The bill enables the government to ‘levy social security surcharge’ not exceeding Rs two per litre on petrol and diesel under the Punjab Value Added Tax Act-2005.
The bill enables the government to ‘levy social security surcharge’ not exceeding Rs two per litre on petrol and diesel under the Punjab Value Added Tax Act-2005.(HT File/Representative image )

Four days after announcing a Rs 2,400 per annum development levy on taxpayers in the state, the Punjab government is set to burden the common man by imposing five more surcharges — including that on petrol, diesel and power bills — in the name of forming Rs 1,500 crore corpus fund for social security schemes.

The Social Security Bill-2018, passed on the concluding day of the assembly’s budget session on Wednesday, was moved by finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal. Interestingly, the tabling of the bill was not on the business agenda of the day.

The bill enables the government to ‘levy social security surcharge’ not exceeding Rs two per litre on petrol and diesel under the Punjab Value Added Tax Act-2005.

Manpreet Badal tried to assure the House that the government had only made an “enabling provision” by bringing the Bill and sought to allay fears that there was any move to impose taxes.

The government also plans to impose surcharge of 1% on registration of vehicles under the Punjab Motor Vehicles Act. A surcharge not exceeding 10 % will be imposed on transportation vehicles. The bigger shocker for the common man is the 5% surcharge on monthly electricity bills ranging between Rs 25-Rs 10,000. The bill also authorised government to have 10% share of the excise duty and license fee as chargeable under the Punjab Excise Act. The government, however, has not disclosed the dates for the implementation of these surcharges.

As the bill to impose new surcharges was tabled in the assembly, AAP MLAs, led by Kanwar Sandhu and HS Phoolka, opposed the move and later staged walked out in protest.

“The opposition has not been given any time to go through the contents of the bill as it had been brought at the last moment,” said AAP member Phoolka.

Manpreet tried to assure the House that the government had only made an “enabling provision” by bringing the Bill and sought to allay fears that there was any move to impose taxes.

The bill has been brought to provide for the establishment of the Punjab Social Security Fund to provide for social services to eligible beneficiaries. The fund would be managed by a trust, established by the government, the minister said. The Punjab chief minister would be the trust’s chairman while the finance, social security and welfare of SCs and BCs ministers, would be its ex-officio members.

The assembly also passed the Punjab State Development Tax Bill, 2018, under which it is proposed to impose or levy tax on professions, trades, callings and employment in the state. This tax will be applicable to persons having monthly income of Rs 30,000 per month and above.

Also read | Punjab assembly: Badals’ bad blood overshadows budget as Manpreet goes ballistic