August 04, 2017 07:29 PM

Chandigarh (Face2News) 

The Punjab Council of Ministers (CoM) has in-principle decided to lower/rationalise circle/collectorate rates, while reducing stamp duty on registration of property in urban areas, in order to give an impetus to the real estate sector in the state.

Chairing a CoM meeting here, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh directed a formal proposal on reduction in circle/collectorate rates to be presented in the next cabinet meeting, with the DCs to be instructed to formulate the new circle rates. Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said he was already working on the proposal and would present in the next meeting for consideration. 

 To boost the languishing real estate sector in the state, the cabinet on Friday also gave approval to reduction in stamp duty on the registration of property in urban areas from 9% to 6% till March 31, 2018. According to a spokesperson of the Chief Minister's Office, the cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, decided to remove the 3% additional stamp duty chargeable as Social Security Fund for this period through an amendment to Section 3-C and schedule 1-B of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899, as announced by the Finance Minister in his Budget speech in the state assembly. 

In another important decision to propel the reality segment, the CoM also decided to grant exemption from 10% increase in Change of Land Use (CLU), External Development Charges (EDC) and License Fee (LF)/Permission Fee from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2020 for real estate projects.The cabinet also in principle agreed to lower/rationalise circle/collectorate rates, which it felt was essential to give an impetus to the real estate sector. Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said he was already working on the matter and would soon bring in a formal proposal for consideration.


The CoM also approved a new Marriage Palace Policy for regularization of unauthorized marriage palaces, besides granting approval for construction of new marriage palaces across the state. The new policy replaces the earlier marriage palace policies framed by the previous government, from time to time, on November 16, 2012, January 7, 2013, November 17, 2015 and August 16, 2016, to ensure regularization of marriage palaces constructed before November 16, 2012. 

The new policy is also aimed at facilitating construction of new marriage palaces, thereby mitigating the problems faced by owners of marriage palaces, besides ensuring safety and parking facility for the people gathering at such venues. The cabinet decided to condone violations in building bylaws to the extent of 10 per cent. 

NOD TO PUNJAB SHEHRI AWAS YOJANA-2017 FOR SC/BC URBAN HOUSING: The Punjab Council on Friday gave the go-ahead for 'The Punjab Shehri Awas Yojana-2017' to provide free housing to eligible houseless SC/BC urban families.Urban households with an annual income of less than Rs. 3 lac in the first phase and Rs.5 lac in the second phase would be eligible to claim free housing facility under the scheme, being launched to implement a major poll promise of the Congress government. 

The Chief Minister, however, gave strict instructions to the concerned departments to ensure that utmost care is taken to ensure that the scheme impacts the real beneficiaries. Often the true beneficiaries fail to get the benefit of social welfare schemes due to errors of inclusion (where the wrong persons end up getting included in the list) or errors of exclusion (the real beneficiaries remain out of the ambit, usually lacking even awareness of the schemes), he observed, adding that extreme care should be taken to avoid such errors.

An official spokesperson said after a cabinet meeting here that the scheme also envisages subsidized housing through in-situ Slum Re-development to eligible slum dwellers, besides affordable housing through concession in EDC, CLU etc. to private developers. It also provides for elimination of stamp duty/registration charges or any other state government cess or social infrastructure fund etc. for eligible beneficiaries/urban poor having annual income from all sources amounting to less than Rs. 3 lacs. 

The scheme would also provide facility of cheap home loans to Lower Income Group (LIG) families (having annual income from all sources less than Rs. 6 lac) and Middle Income Group (MIG) families (having annual income from all sources less than Rs. 18 lac). Land from the departments of Rural Development, Local Government or any other department suitable for construction of Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) houses would be transferred free of cost to the Housing & Urban Development department. In case the land identified for this purpose belongs to some other department of the government, the state level sanctioning and monitoring committee (SLSMC) will be authorized to take decision to utilize this land through Local Government department (Urban Local Bodies)/Housing & Urban Development department (development authorities) in their respective jurisdiction under this scheme, with the consent of the concerned department.

 Of the total recorded population of 2.77 crore in Punjab, 37.49% live in urban areas. In view of the fact that more than 50% of the state's population is forecast to be living in urban areas by 2041, affordable housing for urban poor has become a necessity, which the Captain Amarinder government is striving to address through such measures, said the official spokesperson. 

NOD FOR 'PUNJAB STATE COUNCIL FOR AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION' & 'PUNJAB STATE FARMERS AND FARM LABOURERS COMMISSION ACT-2017: The Captain Amarinder led government has decided to enact the "Punjab State Farmers Commission Act-2017" to empower and safeguard the interests of the farming community, besides setting up a 'Punjab State Council for Agricultural Education' to promote agricultural education in the state.These were among the slew of important decisions taken here on Friday by the Council of Ministers, led by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

An official spokesperson disclosed after the meeting that the proposed Council would be set up by bringing an Ordinance - Punjab State Council for Agricultural Education Ordinance 2017, and would be aimed at promoting and coordinating agricultural education in various colleges and institutes in the state. It would be entrusted with the task of developing guidelines and regulating higher agricultural education in the state through grant of recognition to colleges/institutions/departments that meet the norms and standards prescribed to run educational degree programmes in agriculture. Once granted recognition, the recognized colleges/institutions/departments shall automatically follow the prescribed system of education in governance including infrastructure (class rooms, laboratories, equipment, instructional farms, etc.), procedure of admission, recruitment of staff, resident instruction, course curricula, pattern of examination, etc. as may be directed by the Council from time to time. 

In the other decision, aimed at granting legal rights to farmers, the Cabinet gave the nod to the enactment of "Punjab State Farmers and Farm Labourers Commission Act-2017" through an Ordinance. The five-member commission, with nominated Chairperson, Member Secretary, VC PAU, VC GADVASU and ACS (Development)/FCD, will have the powers to frame agriculture policy and other matters referred to by the government. The Commission will have a corpus fund of Rs. 25 crore initially and Rs.5 crore for next five years grant to be given by the state government, and would be mandated to submit its report to be tabled in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. The Chairperson of the Commission will have status of a Cabinet Minister and the Member Secretary would be in the rank of Secretary to Government. 

In another initiative, aimed at tackling the problem of burning of crop residues across the state, the CoM gave its nod to the creation of a 'Climate Challenge Fund'. The fund will help the state in creating awareness amongst the farmers about the harmful effects of crop residues burning. The Cabinet also agreed in principle to create a fund of Rs one crore for giving incentives to those farmers adopting mechanical solutions to deal with crop residues. 

The Cabinet also decided to create a new entity, called the 'Directorate of Ground Water Management', under the irrigation wing of the Department of Irrigation and Power, for conservation, utilization and management of the depleting Ground Water resources in the state. The existing water resources administration of the department of Irrigation will be subsumed into the new directorate. It may be noted that due to limited allocation to the state in the river waters, about 73 percent of irrigation requirements are met by ground water, which is depleting rapidly. Thus, effective management of Ground Water Resources is of paramount importance and the creation of this directorate would help the state to address this problem in a scientific manner, said the spokesperson.

 CABINET MANDATES PUNJAB MLAs & MPs TO DECLARE IMMOVABLE PROPERTIES ON JAN 1 EVERY YEAR, DECLARATIONS FOR CURRENT YEAR TO BE FILED BY SEPT 30: In a major step aimed at bringing total transparency in governance, the Punjab Council of Ministers, headed by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, on Friday decided to make it mandatory for all members of Legislative Assembly and Parliament from Punjab to declare their immovable properties on January 1 every year, with the exception of the current year, when the declarations are required to be filed by September 30. 

This decision was taken at the meeting of Council of Ministers chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh here at CMO on Friday. Disclosing this here today, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister's Office said that the CoM gave approval to amend 'The Punjab Legislative Assembly (Salaries and Allowance of Member) Act, 1942' to make it mandatory for all MLAs and MPs from Punjab to declare their immovable properties immediately after the said amendment for the year 2017-18. 

To give a fillip to air connectivity from Ludhiana, Pathankot, Bathinda and Adampur under Regional Connectivity Scheme - UDAN of Civil Aviation Ministry, the CoM also decided to grant ex-post facto approval for signing Memorandum of Understanding amongst Government of Punjab, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India and Airport Authority of India. The move will further boost economic and trade activity across the state with the launch of new flights through these airports. 

The CoM also gave a go ahead to new 'Punjab Health and Family Welfare Technical (Group 'A') Services Rules-2017' framed by the Health and Family Welfare department, thereby repealing all the previous notifications and service rules in this context. Earlier, the Punjab Medical and Health Department Nursing Superintendents Matrons, Sister Tutors, Public Health Nurses (Teaching) and Nursing sisters, Public Health Nurses, Staff Nurses and male nurses (state services class III) Rules, 1964 were notified for the establishment and service matters of various technical categories under the Health and Family Welfare Department. The newly rules would enable the department to undertake recruitment and promotions of various Technical Group 'A' vacant posts, besides providing more promotion channels for the medical, para-medical and technical staff of the department. 

In view of the poor financial health of the Punjab Scheduled Castes Land Development & Finance Corporation and Punjab Backward Classes Land Development & Finance Corporation, the CoM rejected a proposal mooted by the Department of Welfare of Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes & Minorities for creating posts of Senior Vice Chairman in these corporations. 

The CoM authorized the Local Government department and Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board to approve extension of contract appointment of 68 Junior Engineers (Civil), transferred from the Education Department, after every six months. It was also decided that while considering their extension for six months the record of these JEs will be examined meticulously and in case of any discrepancy, the concerned employee will be reverted to the Education Department immediately. It may be noted that the Local Government department is already finalizing the recruitment process for 211 Junior Engineers (Civil) and once they join their duties, Junior Engineers of the Education Department would be sent back to their parent department. 

With a view to providing facilities of fire services at the grass roots level effectively, the CoM has also given a green signal to establish a Directorate of Fire Services to regulate and control 34 offices of Fire Brigades already established in 10 Municipal Corporation towns and 155 other Urban Local Bodies across the state. The new directorate will ensure availability and delivery of professional fire services by taking into special consideration the needs of high rise buildings, multiplexes, malls and industrial units involving dangerous operations. The Cabinet also approved the framing of the Punjab Public Works Buildings and Roads Branch (Naib Tehsildar Group-B) Service Rules, 2017, under the provisions of Article 309 of the Constitution of India. 

CABINET OKAYS OTS FOR REGULARIZING UNAUTHORIZED WATER & SEWERAGE CONNECTIONS AND RECOVERY OF WATER & SEWERAGE CHARGES IN ULBs: The Council of Ministers has approved a 'One Time Settlement' scheme for regularizing unauthorized water and sewerage connections and recovery of arrears of water and sewerage charges, besides settling pending dues of house/property tax for urban local bodies in the state. 

Disclosing this here today, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister's Office said the CoM okayed a proposal moved by the Local Government department during its meeting chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. The spokesperson said under this scheme, it was proposed that the defaulters would be given a three month window from the date of notification of the scheme to deposit their dues with a rebate of 10 percent. These defaulters can also deposit their dues with normal interest during the subsequent three months. The department will initiate action against those who do not settle their dues even within six months of the OTS notification. The action would include disconnection and recovery of arrears with interest and penalty. 

Likewise, the department has also initiated OTS for regularization of unauthorized water and sewerage connection at concessional penalty and rates. It is estimated that there are about 15 to 20% of unauthorized water connections in all municipal towns of the state. 

The CoM also gave its nod to One Time Settlement for settling of pending dues of house tax/property tax. Under this scheme, the defaulters will be provided three months’ window from the date of notification of the scheme to deposit their dues with a rebate of 10 percent. They can thereafter deposit their dues with normal interest during the next three months. If they fail to avail any of these options, the department will initiate action against them, which would include sealing and sale of property as per the provisions of the law. The total arrears for house tax and property tax stood at Rs.306.84 crore as on June 30, 2017.

Consequently, the Urban Local Bodies has estimated a loss of Rs.110 crore per annum on this count and thus the department has moved a proposal to levy tax in this regard. 

In another decision, the CoM also extended the time limit of submitting applications under the Punjab Vesting of Proprietary Rights Scheme-2016. Under this scheme, six months’ time has been granted to the citizens to file their applications. The scheme had closed on March 14, 2017 and majority of the people could not avail the facility due to lack of publicity and assembly elections.

Have something to say? Post your comment
Copyright © 2017, Face 2 News, All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions Privacy Policy Disclaimers