Punjab News: In a recent meeting of the Punjab cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, the council of ministers gave the green light to two significant schemes – a pilgrimage initiative for the elderly and a one-time settlement scheme for traders with pending tax dues.
Punjab Cabinet Approves Pilgrimage and Tax Settlement Schemes, Offers Relief to Traders
The ‘Mukh Mantri Tirth Yatra’ scheme, aimed at facilitating elderly individuals, enables them to embark on pilgrimages to various religious sites, including Nanded Sahib, Hazur Sahib, Chintpurni, Jawalaji, and Naina Devi, utilizing free bus and train services. This scheme, set to launch on November 27, has received a budget allocation of Rs 40 crore. While the age criteria for beneficiaries remains pending, a sub-committee will be tasked with determining the specifics.
Another significant decision by the cabinet is the approval of a one-time settlement scheme (OTS) designed to offer relief to traders and the business community within the state. Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema announced that a lump sum tax of up to Rs 1 lakh will be waived under the OTS, benefitting 39,787 traders in Punjab. The scheme applies to pending cases under various tax acts, including the Punjab Value Added Tax Act, 2005, the Central Sales Tax Act, 1956, the Punjab Infrastructure Development Regulation Act, 2002, the Punjab General Sales Tax Act, 1948, the Punjab Entertainment Tax Act, 1954, the Punjab Tax on Luxuries Act, 2009, and Punjab Institutions and Other Buildings Tax Act, 2011.
The cabinet has also decided to grant a 50 percent waiver on taxes owed by traders with dues ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1 crore, alongside a 100 percent waiver on interest and penalties associated with tax arrears. This move will extend relief to approximately 60,000 traders, covering 19,361 cases in total, marking a substantial Diwali gift to the trading community, as expressed by Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema.