Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, February 7
Punjab is all set to reintroduce social security cess on the registration of sale deeds. A 1 per cent cess will be imposed on registries in both rural and urban areas.
The decision was taken by the government after a recent meeting of the resource mobilisation committee. With the state’s revenue receipts remaining far below the targets set for the year, especially revenue from stamp duty and property registration, it has been decided to reintroduce the cess.
“The proposal is under the consideration of the state government,” Additional Chief Secretary KBS Sidhu told The Tribune. The government is targeting an increase of Rs500 crore in its receipts from stamp duty and registration of land.
In the first three quarters of this financial year (till December 31), the total revenue from stamp duty and registration is Rs1,713.70 crore, as against the target of Rs2,650 crore for 2019-20, which seems difficult to achieve in the remaining last quarter.
Official sources said the government had considered two options for revving up revenue from stamp duty and sale deed registration charges — one was to reintroduce the cess and the other to increase the collector rates of all properties, which have been revised downwards for two consecutive years. It was after some “political objections” to the second proposal that a decision to reintroduce the cess was taken.
A social security cess of 3 per cent was in force in the state till July 2017, when it was waived for a period of two years by the Capt Amarinder Singh government. Even then, the cess was imposed only on property registration in urban areas. It has now been proposed that a 1 per cent cess be introduced in both rural and urban areas.
The two-year period of the waiver had ended in March 2019. But with elections to the Lok Sabha round the corner, the government had extended the waiver for another year.
Last year, the government had said on the floor of the Vidhan Sabha that the cess would be reintroduced, as its waiver had led to a fall in revenue. It had then claimed that stamp duty and registration charges fell from targeted Rs2,400 crore to Rs2,153.95 crore in 2017-18 and from Rs2,500 crore to Rs1,891 crore in 2018-19.
The sources say an amendment to the schedule of the Indian Stamp Act is expected to be tabled in the forthcoming Budget session of the Vidhan Sabha for reintroducing the cess.
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