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Higher VAT in Punjab pushes weddings to neighbouring states
April, 22nd 2014

The big fat Punjabi wedding is gradually moving to the neighbouring states due to the massive difference in value added tax (VAT) and permit fee. Political parties are lapping up the issue to lash out at the SAD-BJP government for making marriages costlier, especially where liquor is served.

"There have been instances where people are being forced to shell out permit fee even when they want to have a dry wedding. It is not just the marriage palace owners alone, who are affected by the hike in charges. There is widespread resentment among general public," said Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate from Sangrur, Bhagwant Mann.

Chairperson of the Congress election committee, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, said that price rise due to the faulty policies of the state government pertaining to collection of VAT will make people vote against the SAD-BJP alliance.

Amarjeet Singh, executive member of Punjab Marriage Palace and Resorts Owners' Association, said that there is a massive difference in VAT between Punjab and Haryana. Punjab government recently decided that VAT on bigger marriage palaces will be hiked from Rs 60,000 to Rs 2 lakh, whereas Haryana charges its marriage palaces only Rs 10,000. The fee for a permit for serving liquor is Rs 1,000 in Chandigarh and Rs 1,500 in Haryana.

"It is a cumulative effect of VAT, permit fee and luxury tax that is affecting business in Punjab. However, where people tend to come to terms with the hike gradually, those living in border cities like Zirakpur have an option to hold their functions in (Haryana) at places like Panchkula instead," he added.

VAT on cigarettes issue

Punjab government also plans to seek public opinion over the reduced VAT on cigarettes in the state. The cess has been brought back to 22.6% from 55% last year. "The state government is promoting cigarette smoking as states like Rajasthan are charging 65% VAT," said Bhattal.

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