The Assam government today announced an incentive of 0.75 per cent on digital payments for buying petrol and diesel, in addition to that of the Centre, taking the total benefit to 1.5 per cent.
Unveiling an 18-point incentive scheme for transforming the state into a “less cash economy”, Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma unleashed a slew of measures, including a reward to first 10 farmers for procuring seeds and fertilisers through the digital mode.
“The state government will offer 0.75 per cent discount on purchase of petrol and diesel through the electronic mode. This will be in addition to the central scheme of the same amount, as announced by oil PSUs,” he added.
Sarma said the benefit will be notified by oil PSU firms in coming days and it will be with effect from January 1.
“The incentive will be adjusted to VAT dues paid by the oil firms. In total, customers will get the cashback of equivalent to 1.5 per cent of the price of diesel and petrol purchased,” he added.
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Talking about other schemes, the minister said the first 10 farmers will be rewarded Rs 5,000 and a citation each if the seeds and fertilisers are bought through cashless mechanism between July 1 and July 15 next year.
“Because of all these 18-point incentives, we will have an estimated revenue loss of Rs 100 crore initially. However, if we can make people go digital, then they will come under tax net and in the next 1-2 months, we will gain,” Sarma said while explaining the larger picture.
He said further that the steps are being taken to make Assam a “less cash economy”, not “cash less economy”.
“These steps are to make Assam a digital state. Probably, Assam is the first state in the country to announce such a wide range of incentive schemes. We will have a digital component in our next year’s Budget too,” Sarma said.
Out of 7.8 lakh organised tea garden workers, he added, six lakh have already opened account post the demonetisation drive.
Asked about the impact of demonetisation on the state economy, Sarma said it has become very beneficial as more people have come under tax net.
“Earlier, we used to get Rs 1,360 crore as tax devaluation from the Centre every month. Last month, we received Rs 2,700 crore. On December 1, our tax growth was 10 per cent,” the minister pointed out.