M A I N   N E W S

Punjab Assembly clears advance tax on traders
Approves 12 other Bills Race courses to be regulated in state
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Bills passed
The Punjab Agricultural Credit Operations and Miscellaneous Provisions (Banks) (Amendment) Bill, 2013
Land Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2013
Mechanical Vehicles (Bridges and Roads Tolls) (Amendment) Bill, 2013
Regional and Town Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill, 2013
Infrastructure (Development & Regulations) Amendment Bill, 2013

Chandigarh, November 1
The Punjab Assembly today passed 13 Bills, including the crucial Punjab Value Added Tax (Second Amendment) Bill, 2013 that authorises the state government to collect tax in advance from traders bringing goods into the state.

While the Opposition led by Sunil Jakhar opposed the Bill and declared it as "black law", the Treasury Benches led by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh said it was a step in the right direction to protect the local industry such as manufacturers of plywood from the onslaught of such industry in neighbouring states.

Countering the provisions of the Bill, Congress MLA Ashwani Sekhri said there was no justification for collecting it in advance. It would hit the trading community hard, especially at a time of liquidity crunch. Certain provisions such as giving vast powers to tax officials were draconian in nature, he said. He urged the government to withdraw the Bill.

Jakhar said it would have a negative impact on the overall trade and business sentiment in the state. But SAD MLA Deep Malhotra supported the Bill saying it was a progressive step. Sukhbir said the advance tax would be applicable only on 30 items. He said he would soon announce a new policy for traders giving them major relief. "Small shopkeepers and traders would not have to maintain any account books to pay taxes," he added. He said in most cases, income tax was taken in advance by the Union Government. The money collected as advance tax would be deposited in a dedicated account and utilised for the VAT refund.

Another important Bill passed today was the Punjab Horse Race (Regulation and Management) Bill, 2013.

It aims at regulating the setting up, management and operation of race courses, betting activities and management of horse races on race courses. The Bill allows the government to set up a Punjab Turf Club Regulatory Authority.

It also provides for punishment to those allowing races or betting on racing at race courses without licences or permit.

The Assembly also passed the Punjab State Cancer And Drug Addiction Treatment Infrastructure Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2013; the Punjab Laws (Special Provisons) Amendment Bill; the East Punjab War Awards (Amendment) Bill, 2013; the Indian Stamp (Punjab Amendment) Bill, 2013; the Punjab Ancient, Historical Monuments, Archaeological Sites and Cultural Heritage Maintenance Board (Amendment) Bill, 2013 and the Punjab Police (Amendment) Bill, 2013.





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