Decisions of Punjab Cabinet taken in a meeting held at Chandigarh on August 10
Chandigarh, August 10, 2016The Punjab Cabinet today approved a new policy to check the practice of illegalconversion of Industrial Plots in Industrial Focal Points/Industrial Estates to non-industrial purposes, which were blatantly flouting the stipulated norms of parking and public safety for building construction.A decision to this effect was taken in a meeting of Council of Ministers under theChairmanship of Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal held here at Punjab Bhawan this evening.Disclosing this here today, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s office said that this policy would be instrumental to prevent unauthorized conversion in these areas besides ensuring redevelopment of Industrial Focal Points/Industrial Estates accordingto the present day needs. The new policy envisages conversion of industrial plots falling in Industrial Focal Points/Industrial Estates set up by the government or any of its agencies to hotels and hospitals, group housing, residential, institutional and commercial uses. There would be a condition of 100 meters distance from Red Industries. Conversion charges in terms of 25% of collector rate for residential use minus collector for Industries use whichever is more would be applicable in case of hotels and hospitals. Likewise, in case of residential flats collector rate of residential use minus collector rate of Industrial use would be applicable. Two third of collector rate of commercial use minus collector rate for Industrial use would be applicable in case of commercial use to determine the conversion charges. One tenth of collector rate of residential use minus collector rate for industrial use would be applicable in case of institutional buildings. The Payment schedule would include 25% lump sum in Government Treasury, 5% with Chief Administrator, PUDA as "Social Infrastructure Fund" development authority and Government Agency which has allocated the plot, the remaining 25% at the time Government approval of plan or within one year whichever is earlier, 45% of this with Local/Development Authority and 60% Government Agency which has allotted plot. No Change of Land Use (CLU), External Development Charges (EDC) would be charged in case of shifting industries from Municipal limit within three years. Benefits of CLU and EDC would be given for vacated lands. It may be recalled that over a period of time withthe expansion of urban areas, the presentlocation of these Industrial Focal Points/Industrial Urban Estates having densely populated areas around them has become unsuitable from traffic and environment point of view. Further the increased land prices of urban propertieshave lured a number of plot owners to convert their industrial plots to non-industrial uses illegally thereby blatantly ignoring public safety norms.The Cabinet also approved recommending to the Punjab Governor for summoning of the 13th session of 14th Punjab Vidhan Sabha from 5th to 9th September, 2016. In a major relief to the people across the state, the Cabinet also approved to provide 50% exemption of Stamp Duty onexecution of conveyance deeds in respect of affordable houses and similarly 20% exemption on new flats. In order to provide facilities for the real estate sector, while presenting Budget forthe year 2016-17, the state Finance Minister has made these announcements; 50% exemption on CLU, EDC and License Fee for all affordable Housing Projects, besides 50% exemption of Stamp Duty on execution ofConveyance Deeds in the entire affordable Housing Sector and this relief would be passed on to last buyer, 20% exemption of Stamp Duty on execution ofconveyance deed in respect of new affordable flats and 15% reduction in Collector rates and 25% exemption on License Fee, CLU and EDC for the all forthcoming new Housing Sector Projects and this exemption would also be provided to all ongoing project & new extensions. It may be recalled that announcement with regard to reduction of 15% Collector Fee had already been fulfilled vide government instructions dated April 18, 2016 issued to all Deputy Commissioners in the State. Presently, 5% Stamp Duty is being charged on the conveyance Deeds under the Indian Stamp Act, 1899. The Council of Ministers was empowered to reduce the Stamp Duty charged over all ConveyanceDeeds under section 9(1) (a) of Indian Stamp Act, 1899. The developer will sendthe list of number of units of affordable Housing Sector to the Revenue Department, concerned Deputy Commissioner (Registrar) and Tehsildar (Sub-Registrar). This method will also applicable on the affordable House Allotment Schemes/Projects of Housing& Urban Development Department & LocalGovernment Department.The Cabinet also gave nod to float tenders for next phase of Bhagat Puran Singh Sehat Bima Yojana from November1, 2016 to October 31, 2017, as the said scheme started in November 2015 was completing its term on October 31, 2016. In the extended policy, around 12.50 lac more beneficiaries were expected to be added and around 40 lac beneficiaries families would be benefitted under the extended scheme from November 1, 2016. It may be recalled that under this scheme around 26.50 lac blue card holders, farmers, traders and labourers families have been availing benefit of Health Insurance amounting to Rs.50,000and compensation of Rs.5 lac in case of accidental death or disability of Head of family. Apart from this, compensation of Rs.5 lac is being provided to enrolled traders in case of fire in their official premises. Under this scheme, up to July 30, 2016, as many as 44,082 beneficiaries have taken benefits amounting to Rs.40.78 crore.In a bid to promote industrialization in thestate, the Cabinet also gave approval to the proposal of supplying electricity to Small Power Industrial consumers at concessional tariff of Rs.4.99 Paise per Unit during the year 2016-17. The Cabinetalso accorded approval to pay subsidy ofRs.29.97 crore approximately to Punjab State Power Corporation Limited for the year 2016-17 as a difference of 48 Paise per Unit in tariff to Small Power Industrialconsumers determined by Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission at Rs. 5.47 Paise per Unit and the concessional tariff at Rs. 4.99 Paise per Unit announced by the State government. The Cabinet also approved to extend the period of implementation of One Time Settlement (OTS) Policy for Loans & Equity- PSIDC, PFC, PAIC and its Subsidiary Companies- 2015 from May 31, 2016 to December 31, 2016 so that these Corporations could recover more amounts from their defaulting loanee companies as these companies have received good response from the industryunder OTS Policy.In another consumer friendly decision, the Cabinet had decided to exempt Haldi from VAT and reduce the rate of tax on Jeera, Dhania, Ajwain and Kali Mirch from 6.87% to 4.4%. This decision would entail a forgo of revenue to the tune of nearly Rs.35 to 45 crores annually.The Cabinet also accorded ex-post facto approval for the revised quota of Punjab Medium Liquor, Indian Made Foreign Liquor & Beer and estimated revenue to be accrued during 2016-17. Pertinently tomention here that this time the motive of the state government was to break the monopoly and provide liquor at affordable rates to the consumers. With this motive in mind, the allotment of liquor vends was made in small groups. Due to these smaller groups, some of the licensees did not participate actively in the allotment process. Henceforth, in the first and second allotment process, somegroups in Bathinda, Patiala, Sangrur, Barnala, Ferozepur, Fazilka and Moga remained un-allotted. Therefore, in the revenue interest of the state, these un-allotted groups of vends were allotted through tender process, by reducing the reserve price after taking the approval of the competent authority. All liquor vends of the State have been allotted. Now, the quota of Punjab Medium Liquor will remain at 1010.98 lac proof litres, insteadof 1030 lac proof litres and the quota of Indian Medium Foreign Liquor will remainat 473.04 lac proof litres, instead of 475 lac proof litres. Similarly, the quota of beer will remain at 329.97 lac proof litres instead of 330 lac bulk litres. With this reduction of quota, the projected revenue for the year 2016-17 will be Rs.5348.22 crores instead of Rs.5460.95 crores.The Cabinet also gave approval to transfer land reserved for disposal works in the vicinity of Grain Market, Guru Harsahai free of cost for the installation of sewerage treatment plant in the larger public interest.In order to ensure holistic and planned development outside the urban areas andencourage the setting up of Low Density Eco Friendly Residential Projects, the Cabinet also gave a go ahead to the Low Density Country Homes Residential Development Policy with minimum 30 acres. This policy would be aimed at checking the sporadic growth of farm houses in agriculture zones besides ensuring integrated and planned development in the outskirts of urban areas.The Cabinet also decided to amend the Punjab Civil Services (Premature Retirement) Rules, 1975 thereby insertinga note in rule 2 in clause (3), which stipulates; in the case of employees who have joined the service on or after the January 1, 2004, qualifying service shall be the actual service rendered by them; In the said rules, in rule 3, in sub-rule (1), in clause (a), the words “or attains fifty years of age” shall be omitted; In the saidrules, in rule 4, (i) In the sub-rule (2) in clause (i), for the words “thirty three”, the words “twenty-five” shall be substituted; and (ii) In sub-rule (4), the word and figures “and 6.4” shall be omitted. Thereafter, these rules would be called the Punjab Civil Services (Premature Retirement) First Amendment Rules, 2016. The Cabinet also gave approval to grant Rs.1 lakh each to the pilgrim of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra on the pattern of this facility already being extended to the pilgrims in other state of the country.In another pro-poor initiative, the Cabinet also approved to provide 200 free units ofelectricity to the domestic consumers belonging to backward classes on the pattern of SC consumers. Likewise, the Cabinet also gave approval for the construction of boundary walls, one roomand drinking water facility within the cemeteries and graveyards for Christian and Muslims respectively at government expenditure. In case, where no government land was available for Muslim graveyards and Christian cemeteries, the state government would purchase requisite land and the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) would fund the entire expenditure for this purpose.