Chandigarh: Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh on Tuesday opposed the Badal government’s move to impose taxes retrospectively in the state, calling it “punitive and regressive” and promised a one-time settlement to the owners of marriage halls and other establishments, which have been slapped with retrospective taxes, if voted to power. “Imposing retrospective taxes is not only punitive but regressive as well and amounts to extortion which the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine are now resorting to,” he told a delegation of real estate dealers and marriage hall owners here.
The former chief minister assured them of introducing a comprehensive real estate development policy to safeguard the interests of everyone concerned, including investors and dealers, if the Congress assumes power in the 2017 Assembly election. Describing the real estate sector as a “strong indicator of economic well-being of a state”, Amarinder said it was currently going through a crisis in Punjab. He claimed that despite a massive increase in stamp duty effected by the SAD-BJP, the income generated was far less compared to the figures during his tenure as chief minister.
Amarinder said during his tenure stamp duty on real estate was six per cent whereas it has now been raised to 10 per cent by the SAD-BJP but revenue collection from it has gone down by more than half. The state Congress chief accused the SAD-BJP government in Punjab of “harassing” marriage hall owners by imposing retrospective taxes on them. “Given the fact that the government is facing a severe financial crisis, it is now trying to clutch on to straws by imposing taxes on marriage halls and small plot-holders,” he said, claiming that these measures would not generate much revenue and lead to harassment instead.
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