In a significant decision and in continuation to passing of Punjab Satluj-Yamuna Link Canal (Transfer of Property Rights) Bill, 2016, the Punjab Cabinet today approved to return the entire money received from Haryana in respect of SYL immediately to the Haryana government.
A decision to this effect was taken by the Cabinet in its meeting chaired by the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at Punjab Bhawan, this evening.
Disclosing this here today a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that the Cabinet reiterated the SAD-BJP alliance government’s firm commitment not to allow even a single drop of its rightful river waters to Haryana adding that since water was the lifeline of Punjab so the question of sharing it with anyone does not arise at all and any decision against injustice to river waters of Punjab would never be accepted at any cost.
The Cabinet also approved the Excise Policy for the year 2016-17 by implementing which the state government expects to collect Rs. 5440 crores as against Rs. 5040 crores in current year, an increase of about Rs.400 crores. The liquor vends for the year 2016-17 would be allotted through draw of lots in a transparent manner. The basic thrust of the policy was to provide good quality liquor at affordable prices to the consumers.
To have fair and healthy competition amongst the licensee, maximum retail prices of liquor have also been fixed. The rates would be displayed by the licensees conspicuously at their vends. No licensee could charge rates higher than the rates fixed by the Department.
The maximum retail prices of liquor to be served in the marriage palaces for marriages, have also been fixed and would be displayed on the website of the Department and the same would be made available by the officers of the Department at the time of issuing permits. In a significant departure from the existing policy, the permit holder could buy liquor from any liquor vend in the concerned district, where marriage function was to be held.
In the Excise Policy, the size of the groups has been reduced for ensuring maximum participation by the small and medium licensees. The total number of groups were proposed to be around 600-700 as against 226 of last year. The number of retail vends have not been increased and have been kept at the last year’s level i.e.6400.
The quota of country liquor was pegged at 10.30 crore proof litres as against 9.80 crore proof litres during the current year. The quota of IMFL has been increased from 4.50 crore proof litres to 4.75 crore proof litres. Additional quota @ 20% of the basic quota would also be available to the licensees at concessional rate.
The quota of Beer has been increased from 312 lac bulk litre to 330 lac bulk litres. This year, import duty on canned beer has been abolished. This measure has been introduced with the intention to provide more variety of Beer brands to the consumers. This time, model shops would also be established in major Corporation Cities from where any person could buy liquor without any hesitation.
The Cabinet also gave approval to amend rates of property tax of hotels in urban areas from the year 2015-16. Any hotel with capacity of 50 rooms or below would be charged Rs.6, Rs.4 and Rs.3 per sq. ft. instead of existing Rs 6, Rs 5 and Rs 4 as property tax in case of A-category towns, while Rs.4 and Rs.2.50 per sq. ft. instead of existing Rs 4 and Rs 3 would be charged in case of B-category towns and Rs.2 and Rs.1.50 per sq. ft. for C-category towns remains unchanged. Likewise, any hotel having capacity of 51 rooms or above would be charged property tax at the rate of Rs.8, Rs.7 and Rs.6 per sq. ft. instead of Rs 9, Rs 8 and Rs 7 in case of A-category towns and Rs.7 and Rs.5 per sq. ft. instead of Rs 8 and Rs 6 for B-category towns and Rs.6 and Rs.4 per sq. ft. instead of Rs 7 and Rs 5 for C-category towns. However, these rates were for every built up area irrespective of floor. There would be not tax on vacant land and parking area.
The Cabinet also decided to present a bill in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in order to sort out the legal problems with regard to disbursement of gratuity and leave encashment to the Privately Managed Aided Colleges in the state. It may be recalled that the state government gives 95% financial aid to 136 private colleges across the state and management of some of the colleges had filed certain court cases in this regard.