The Punjab Cabinet here today gave the go-ahead for the draft model GST Bill to be put before the House during the budget session of the state assembly and also approved the report of the Fifth State Finance Commission submitted to the Punjab Governor. These key decisions were taken at a meeting of the Council of Ministers, chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh here today. The cabinet also decided to bring a bill for the appointment of administrators to the market committees and the amendment to the Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1961, in the budget session, which begins here tomorrow, according to an official spokesperson. The enactment of State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) Bill will pave the way for the repeal of the Punjab Municipal Fund Act, 2006 and Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Act, 2011.
It will boost the state exchequer by enabling 100 per cent VAT and additional tax thus collected on petroleum products and liquor to be deposited in the treasury. The Fifth State Finance Commission, which the cabinet has approved, recommends the continuation of existing devolution of 4 per cent share of net proceeds of State Taxes to Local Bodies for the year 2016-17 to 2020-21. This will result in transfer of an estimated Rs 4364.40 crore to both rural and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), with the state government accepting the commission’s recommendations regarding share of Urban Local Bodies and inter-se distribution among PRIs.
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The cabinet has also accepted other main recommendations of the Commission, such as compensatory payments in lieu of Octroi, Income from levy of Octroi on Electricity, share of Excise Duty and Auction Money, Urban Local Bodies in lieu of Octroi on liquor, distribution methodology for devolution among ULBs and three tiers of PRIs and inter-se distribution of Local Bodies, with some amendments, the spokesperson informed. It was decided that some other recommendations of the Commission be examined by the concerned administrative departments before taking a final decision on them, said the spokesperson.
These recommendations include conditions laid down by the 14th Finance Commission of the Centre for general performance grants, further measures for improving performance of urban local bodies, computerisation and e-governance, improving data base, capacity building, accounting and auditing systems, benchmarking & evaluation, people’s participation, privatisation in urban local bodies, urban land, land tax and housing policies, some miscellaneous measures and suggestions. It also decided to introduce draft bill to amend the Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1961 in order to facilitate marketing reforms as per the model act circulated by Central Government, to ensure greater transparency and efficiency in market of agriculture produce.