CHANDIGARH: All political parties in Punjab—from the ruling Congress to opposition AAP and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)—on Friday opposed the Centre’s decision to extend special incentives to the hill states.
Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh had earlier on Friday said he would pursue Punjab’s demand for extending similar incentives to the border areas and the Kandi belt. He said Punjab’s Kandi and border areas also had problems and deserved to be put on par with the hill states in terms of the incentives given by the Centre.
The Union cabinet had extended the sunset clause on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) up till March 2027 for the duty exemption scheme for industrial units in the Northeast and other hill states on Wednesday.
More than 30,000 industrial units have shut shop in the last decade with large-scale shutdowns in the industrial hubs of Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Mandi Gobindgarh, Batala and Kapurthala. The tax holiday, which began in 2003-2013 in the neighbouring hill states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir and its timely extensions have made it virtually impossible for local manufacturers to compete, said sources.
Leader of Opposition and AAP leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira slammed the UPA government for extending the Tax holiday to hilly states for the next ten years and demanded a roll back of the decision.
“The Union government has extended Tax holiday to Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and the Northeastern states. This decision is not only erroneous but grossly discriminating to Punjab, as its industry and the agriculture sector with farmers were committing suicide in large numbers,” said Sukhpal Singh Khaira.
Parkash Singh Badal requested the Centre to either reconsider the decision or extend the same facilities to Punjab. He also termed that he is not against a breather to other states and said Punjab seeks justice and a level playing field.