LUDHIANA (Punjab): With an eye on the Punjab assembly elections next year, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday unveiled a 21-point Trade and Industry Manifesto here, promising that the state will have the lowest tax rate in five years.
In an attempt to lure business class, the AAP’s ‘Trade and Industry’ manifesto promised that the tax regime would be simplified and made transparent; VAT and other taxes will be reduced on Delhi pattern, and in five years, Punjab will have the lowest tax rate; beside, one-time settlement of pending tax related cases and VAT refund to be expedited.
Five-year tax holidays to encourage women entrepreneurs.
Promising trade, industry and transport sectors to be made corruption-free, the manifesto stated that ‘Inspector Raj’ and ‘Raid Raj’ would be eliminated and no “Goonda Tax” would be allowed; besides, there would be provision for self-certification regime for all NOCs (no objection certificate) and consents in businesses.
Workable and responsive Single Window System for approvals and clearances for all types of industry, including real estate, and special impetus to new industry, including IT.
Revival of sick units in Mandi Gobindgarh, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Batala, Pathankot, Nangal, Bathinda and all other industrial towns will be ensured in a time-bound manner through a series of measures, including two-year tax holiday. To kick start industrial revival, un-utilised lands in and underdeveloped Industrial Estates, Growth Centres and Focal Points will be allotted to industry at affordable rates or on lease, the manifesto says, while promising to issue special package to bring back industry that fled the state.
Besides, a new industrial township with special incentives will be developed in Ropar to kick start state-of-the-art and environment-friendly IT and other industries to generate employment in the backward Kandi belt adjoining Himachal Pradesh.
It says electricity tariff will be substantially reduced by nailing corruption and enabling optimum efficiency of systems and “anti-Punjab Power Agreements” with private plants will be reviewed and those responsible for burdening the people of the state will be punished.
Addressing concerns of labourers and workers living in major industrial cities of the state, the manifesto promises to regularise unauthorised colonies and to provide all basic facilities, including sewerage, within a mandated period.
Noting that the Real Estate sector will be revived by a series of incentives, review of stamp duty, EDC, CLU, and other charges, the manifesto promises that a comprehensive real estate policy will review distortion of master plans and revive the housing sector in consultation with all stakeholders. Uniformity in regulations and coordination between all government development agencies, like PUDA, GLADA, GMADA, Improvement Trusts, Municipal Corporations etc. will be ensured.
The AAP promises to elimination Reta-Bajri Mafia and issuing of mining licenses to young entrepreneurs; besides constitution of an SIT to unearth collection of “Goonda Tax” through Akali-BJP and Congress collusion.
In order to give a boost to agro-based food processing and other industry, the AAP promises a 10-year tax holiday, interest free loans for agro-units employing at least 80 percent workforce from Punjab; besides, units in rural areas related to food processing, dairy products, maize and cotton etc set up by local entrepreneurs will be given incentives.
Taking a direct swipe at the Badals, the AAP said the Transport sector would be depoliticised. “The AAP government will snatch bus permits from the Badals, top politicians of the SAD-BJP, Congress and others, who have procured them through fraudulent means and give them to unemployed youth, ex-servicemen, handicapped persons, terrorist victims, and victims of 1984 anti-Sikh violence.”
Besides, trucking will be freed of corruption and harassment by DTOs and police through unnecessary checking of vehicles will cease within two weeks of forming the government. Control of politicians in truck unions will be ended. Issuance of HTV and taxi permits in all districts instead of just Muktsar Sahib as of now.
The manifesto promises to investigate review and rationalise heavy toll tax charged by private companies in collusion with Akali–BJP, Congress politicians. “No toll plazas on roads other than highways. Will press for removal of all toll plazas of NHAI on Jalandhar-Amritsar and Ropar-Anandpur Sahib section due to their status as holy cities in accordance with the Centre's policy to remove selective toll plazas.”
Promising that the control of politicians and their henchmen will be ended in the liquor business, the AAP said liquor mafia would be dismantled and replaced with an alternative system that provides equal opportunity and generates employment.
Turning its attention to small retailers, the manifesto said they would be protected from FDI in retail and mega malls. “A ‘special cell’ will look into complaints of harassment of and extortion from rice mill owners, artiyas, jewellers, and small retailers by food inspectors, police, taxation officials etc.
Religious, heritage and industrial tourism will be encouraged with liberal tax incentives to hotels and related industry and exhibition halls will be set up in Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Patiala in PPP-model, it says.
The manifesto promises social security for tax-paying small and medium businessmen and traders, who suffer losses and face insolvency, while stressing that there will be zero-toleration on food adulteration, systems will be put in place to check unfair harassment of retailers, testing laboratories for food safety will be set up in all districts.
In order to end harassment of ‘rehriwalas’ and ‘fariwallahs’, spaces will be earmarked in every city for creation of ‘rehri’ markets and week-end flea marketing, it said.