The Punjab Vidhan Sabha Friday passed three bills, including one to dissolve the state Vigilance Commission, with Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann saying the body was not serving any useful purpose except being a burden on the exchequer. The two other bills are on tackling the evasion of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and making gram panchayats the exclusive owner of the common village land.
Punjab State Vigilance Commission (Repeal) Bill, 2022
The state anti-graft body was set up under the Punjab State Vigilance Commission Act, 2020 by the previous Congress government to probe into the allegations of commission of offence by the state’s public servant.
Introducing the repeal Bill, on the third day of the ongoing session, Mann said the commission was also empowered to exercise superintendence and control over the functioning of the Vigilance Bureau and Police establishment in so far it relates to corruption cases. He said that 2020 Act suffers from serious deviations”.
The Vigilance Commission was not serving any useful objective except being a burden on the exchequer as there are multiple agencies to deal with the same issues, said Mann. Therefore, to avoid overlapping, contradictory findings, resultant delays and gaps in communication, it has become necessary to repeal the Punjab State Vigilance Commission Act, 2020, said the CM.
Punjab Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill 2022
Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema moved the amendment Bill, saying tax evaders will be dealt with severely. To check the menace of bogus billing and fraudulent input tax credit, an amendment has been made to empower the state government to restrict availing of the input tax credit by the taxpayer.
“To facilitate ease of doing business, time period for availment of income tax credit has been extended to thirtieth day of November following the end of the financial year in which the supply is carried out, or furnishing of the relevant annual return, whichever is earlier.”
The amendment will provide for furnishing of details of outward supplies as a condition for furnishing returns to check the menace of bogus billing and fraudulent input tax credit and to improve compliance.
“A fee has been introduced for late filing of statements by taxpayers who are tax collectors such as e-commerce operators to improve compliance,” he said.
To facilitate ease of doing business, Section 50 has been retrospectively amended to limit the levy of interest only on the income tax credit wrongly availed and utilized. He further added that another section has been amended to provide that time period for claim of such refund shall be two years from the furnishing of return to streamline refunds to special economic zone unit or developer.
The Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2022
The bill was tabled by Rural Development and Panchayats Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal to amend Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961. With this amendment, gram panchayats will be exclusive owner of the common village land.
The statement of objects and reasons of the Bill read that “the amendment would bring clarity that the land kept reserved for common purposes during consolidation titled as “Jumla Mustarka Malkan” is also Shamlat Deh as defined in section 2(g) of Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act 1961. This amendment provides that definition of Shamlat Deh as defined in section 2 (g) of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act 1961 shall also include the Jumla Mustarka Malkan Lands.”
Dhaliwal assured of widening the road from Badalgarh to Nava Gaon and the construction of a 30-metre-long bridge on the Jhambowali choe in Lehragaga. His reply came following a calling attention notice of AAP MLA Barinder Kumar Goyal, drawing attention towards non-construction of the bridge on the drain running through Badalgarh to the Nava Gaon road.