CHANDIGARH: Punjab Cabinet today approved the new Excise and Taxation policy for the year 2013-14 with an increase of Rs.610 crore over last year. The revenue expected during 2013-14 is Rs.4020 crores as against Rs.3410 crores in the current year.
A decision to this effect was taken in a Cabinet meeting Chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here at CMO this morning. Divulging the salient features of the new policy a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office, said that the Cabinet has decided to continue with the existing system of allotment of liquor vends through draw of
lots with an objective to provide quality liquor to the people at affordable prices.
It may be recalled that the Punjab Government has already approved amendments in the Punjab Excise Act to curb illegal sale and smuggling of liquor. In this regard, the Cabinet gave nod to the amendment to
Section 61 of the Punjab Excise Act. Now, if any vehicle was detected carrying more than 10 cases of liquor illegally, it would be confiscated and auctioned.
The policy provides for earmarking Rs.83 crores for education. Similarly, Rs.60 crores would be allocated for development of Sports in the State in addition to Rs 18 crore for preservation and maintenance of heritage monuments in the State. A provision for creating Social Security fund has been made in the Policy and approximately Rs.10 crores would be generated for this purpose. Taking serious cognizance of the exploitation of consumers by the licensee the new policy has authorized Excise & Taxation Commissioner and the Assistant Excise & Taxation Commissioners to fix rate of liquor to be supplied at Marriage Palaces.
It has also been decided to set up Model Shops in each Zone of Corporation City and ‘A’ class Municipalities. These model shops would be operated by the regular L-2 licensees of the Zone. It had been found that L-2B licensees (departmental stores) were indulging in malpractices and were hitting at the sales of the regular licensees.
So, the L-2B license has been abolished. The quota of Punjab Medium Liquor (PML) has been marginally increased by 5% (50 lakh proof litres) and Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) by 2% (10 lakh proof litres). Keeping in mind the customer preference, the percentage of Open Quota has been increased from 60% to 65%. There was a marginal increase of Rs.4/- per litre only, in incidence, on PML and IMFL. A provision in the policy has been made to create a level playing field by forming groups and zones of liquor vends which were not detrimental to each other, thereby avoiding unhealthy competition.
The system of levying extra license fee has been made more rational and scientific on advalorem basis. The burden of extra license fee would be less on lower brands of liquor and more of higher brands. In order to encourage exports from the State, permit fee of Rs.1/- levied on RS/ENA used for the manufacture of IMFL to be exported out
of Punjab has been abolished. The discrimination between distilleries and bottling plants for manufacturing of IMFL to be sold in Punjab has been removed by levying a uniform permit fee on both of them. In order to encourage bottling in Punjab, the import fee on import of bottled IMFL into Punjab has been increased from Rs.15/- per PL to
Rs.25/- per PL.
The concept of Micro Breweries was introduced in 2011-12 in order to wean away people from hard drinks. Beer manufactured by micro breweries was being encouraged, as it was cheaper than the normal beer. In order to encourage micro breweries, the scope and area of the sale has been widened in this policy. In another significant decision, the Cabinet also gave approval for introducing “Punjab State Cancer and Drug Addiction Treatment Infra Structure Fund Bill 2013” in the coming Budget session of the state assembly. This bill aims at creating a special fund for creation of infrastructure including machinery equipment and provision for medicines in selected hospitals for treatment of cancer and drug-addiction in the state. A surcharge/cess would be levied on some items, taxes, receipts and a share from sale of Government and Semi-Government properties the money collected from it would be deposited in this dedicated fund. A Board under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister would be created to administer this fund.
In order to ensure more participation of citizens in the working of all Nagar Panchayats/ Municipal Councils and Municipal Corporations in the state, the Cabinet also gave a go ahead for enacting “The Punjab Community Participation in Municipalities Act, 2013”. The new Act which would be presented in the coming Budget session of State Assembly envisages constitution of Area Sabhas and Ward Committees in all the Municipalities thereby providing an opportunity to the citizens for effective participation in the civic affairs.
To facilitate the NRIs in getting their properties vacated quickly, the Cabinet also gave nod to introduce Punjab Rent (Amendment) Bill, 2013 before the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in the coming Budget session. The properties given on rent under an agreement from the ate of enactment of this Bill will come under the purview of this new law.
In order to curtail expenditure and implement the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court the Cabinet cleared the security policy for the State under which security to the elected representatives, officials &
public men will be provided based on the threat perceptions.
In order to establish Mega Textile Park in Barnala district, the Cabinet also gave its nod to include the district in the list of eligible ones for availing all the incentives including exemption from the Electricity Tax for seven years under the Textile Policy -2006.
The Cabinet also gave approval in principle for enactment of Punjab Contract Farming Act, 2012 to safeguard the rights of farmers as well needed farm diversification program in state. The Contract Farming Act
would also open several avenues for the promotion of food processing industry in the state. To ensure strict Implementation of the Act, Punjab Contract Farming Commission would be set up having one Chief Commissioner and three Commissioners to be appointed by the state government. Under the provisions of the Act, the registration of the buyers had been made compulsory with the competent authority prior to an agreement between the buyers and the farmers so as to ensure that only genuine buyer or a person with valid antecedents could enter upon such agreement. It had been clearly stipulated that the right of ownership or possession of land on which the farming was to be done would solely vest in the farmer and would not be a part of said agreement, in any case.
Keeping in view the larger public interest, the Cabinet also approved to grant ownership rights of the land to the allottees who had migrated from Pakistan after partition and had been shown as tenants
of this land which is currently owned by the government as per the record, in the State.
The Cabinet also gave its nod to introduce the Prisons Punjab Amendment Bill, 2013 in the coming session of the Vidhan Sabha by and five years for those prisoners who use mobile phone etc in or outside the prison. Likewise the Cabinet also approved to introduce Punjab Motor Vehicle Taxation Act (Amendment) Bill in the coming
Taxation Act 1924.
In order to impart technical training to the youth of the state in an efficient manner, the Cabinet also gave its green signal to create 39 posts of C-PYTE within six months.
To overcome the shortage of the PCS officers for running the administrative work efficiently, the Cabinet also gave ex-post facto approval for extending the reappointment period of 23 Retired PCS (Executive Branch) Officers on contractual basis further for one year and that of 14 others for a period of six months.
The Cabinet also gave nod for the creation of 4 regular posts a on outsource basis for running the newly constructed Circuit Houses at Ferozepur and Gurdaspur.
In another significant decision the Cabinet also gave nod for amending section 3 (1) of the East Punjab War Awards Act, 1948 thereby enhancing the annual financial assistance (Jangi Jagir) given to the Ex-servicemen from Rs 5000 to Rs 10000.
In order to the safeguard the dealers, supplying goods to the CSD, from the effect of double taxation, the Cabinet also approved to amend the Punjab VAT Act by omitting entry 43 of its schedule A.
The Cabinet also approved to amend Punjab State Lotteries Rule 1998 thereby ensuring that the payment of bumper prizes would be made to the prize winners without deduction of establishment charges.
The Cabinet also gave nod to amend rule 5 of the Punjab Motors Transport workers Rules 1963 for enhancing the annual registration fee recovered from the transport companies registered under the abovesaid Act. Vide which heavy penalties ranging from Rs. 50000 to Rs. 1 Lakh will be imposed on these transport vehicles which enter the state without paying taxes. There is a provision for imprisonment also in case of
In another important decision the Cabinet also gave approval for the appointment/regularization of the services of 12 work charger/daily wagers by creating the posts in the jail department. These work charged employees/daily wagers have been rendering their services from last 10 years.
The Cabinet also decided to give teacher’s job to the wife of ASI Kulbir Singh, who was recently found dead in village Geowala in Tarn Taran district on compassionate grounds.
The Cabinet also decided that a suitable place will required facilities will be earmarked at each District Head Quarters for staging rallies, dharnas, agitations etc. so that the general public is not put to inconvenience.
The Cabinet also decided to streamline the A.G. office for effectively following up of Government cases pending in the High Court by deputing dedicated law officers for major departments.
The Cabinet also directed the Chief Secretary to take measures so that all major Municipal Corporations become financial self sustainable. It also directed that the payment of dues by the citizen be computerized and a facility of online payment be made available to citizens.
The Cabinet also reviewed the existing State of solid waste management in the cities and asked the Chief Secretary to come up with an effective policy by June, 2013.