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Property tax: Welcome step, but not enough, stakeholders say
September, 24th 2014

The Punjab cabinet's decision to revise criteria for property tax has enthused residential property owners but there is still demand for more across the board relaxations, irrespective of the size of the dwelling unit.

"The government should completely waive off property tax as government is already collecting tax in the form of stamp duty. The property business has come to a halt due to complex tax structure," said Rajinder Singh, property dealer from Amritsar.

"Property tax on self-owned buildings need to be abolished or should be very nominal in case of smaller houses. The state government needs to educate people about the utilization of the tax so that people don't hesitate," said Bathinda Beopar Mandal member Kuldeep Kumar.

"Giving exemption to religious institutions and others will not benefit common man. The government has wisely portrayed about giving relaxation on property tax but in reality it is not so. Only a selected few have been given benefit and not the masses," said Navjot Gill, property dealer from Amritsar.

It's a welcome step even though it won't give any considerable benefit as normally people purchase property only once or twice in life. The government should have instead reduced stamp duty. It is beneficial for ex-servicemen and nothing beyond it, said Narinder Sharma, a retired Major.

Congress Legislative Party leader Sunil Jakhar said though it was a welcome step to give relaxations in property tax, the government had created a lot of confusion over it and could have handled the implementation better.

"We must debate whether we really need this kind of a tax or not. Local bodies in each city of Punjab have miserably failed to provide even basic amenities like water, roads and sewerage line to residents. Development of cities is selective. This, despite the fact that citizens are already various taxes. Before levying any new tax, local bodies first provide basic amenities. Only then they can justify levying any new tax," said K C Bhardwaj, general secretary of a Resident Welfare Association in Patiala.

The Joint Action Committee of Traders and Industrialists in Jalandhar demanded that SAD-BJP leaders fulfil their promise during parliamentary elections that the tax would be abolished. "During election time, the SAD and BJP leaders were promising that if voted to power they would abolish the condition of property tax laid down by the Union government. They always blamed UPA for it but now NDA is in power," said action committee leader and Khel Udyog Sangh leader Ravinder Dhir.

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