Monday, March 3, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Entry tax to replace octroi
Jindals get online-lottery contract
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 2
The Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, said here today that a two per cent tax would be imposed on all goods entering the state, to raise a Rs 720 crore annual corpus for running the corporations and committees of the state after the abolition of octroi.

After inaugurating a local eatery, the minister said goods worth Rs 36,000 crore entered the state every year and a two per cent tax on these was likely to raise Rs 720 crore annually. He said the government needed at least Rs 550 crore a year to manage its corporations and committees after octroi was abolished.

He said the remaining Rs 150 crore would be spent on development works in major cities.

Mr Lal Singh said military goods, however, would be exempt from this tax. He said, with the setting up of the new tax structure it was expected that development works in the state would be expedited.

The government had decided to close down five of its loss-making public-sector undertakings Punjab Alkalies, Punjab Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), Conwear, Punjab Tractor Corporation and Punjab Communications. He said all corporations would be sold to private parties, on an undertaking that the employees of the corporations will be merged in the new set-up.

The minister also said the government had given a contract for introducing online lottery in the state to a conglomerate headed by Jindal Pipes. He said the contract had been awarded at Rs 3,751 crore after due tendering and the agreement with the group would be signed within a month.

Mr Lal Singh said, though octroi was being abolished in the state, municipal employees working in this branch would not be removed; they would be adjusted in the other departments. He said the government was committed to cutting extra expenditure and it had recently made a saving of Rs 25 crore.

He said the new industry policy had been made when Beant Singh had been the Chief Minister. He said now chartered accountants would submit reports, on the basis of which, taxes would be calculated and action would be taken in cases of submission of false report.

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