Punjab cabinet rejects centre’s move on wealth tax

Chandigarh: Rejecting a move by the central government to impose wealth tax on agricultural land near urban centres, the Punjab cabinet Friday asked Governor Shivraj Patil to convene an emergency session of the assembly on May 3.

An emergency meeting of the Punjab cabinet here, chaired by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, urged the central government to immediately withdraw any proposal to impose wealth tax on agricultural land “in the garb of declaring all lands falling within the aerial radius of 8 km of municipal limits as urban lands”.

The cabinet requested the governor to convene the assembly session “to discuss the extremely dangerous and critical situation that has arisen out of the centre’s decision to impose wealth tax on agriculture lands in the country”.

“This decision, which will have far-reaching consequences, is like a death warrant for the distressed peasantry of the state which was already confronting huge economic crisis. This anti-farmer and anti-poor decision will ruin the economy of the country thereby leading to complete anarchy and chaos in it,” the cabinet resolution said.

It said the farming community in Punjab was “already reeling under an unbearable and crippling burden of farm indebtedness to the tune of over Rs.37,000 crore”.

The resolution said the decision would not only “crush and destroy the farmers” of the country but would also deal a blow to the national economy.

Talking to media after the meeting, Badal urged all regional and national parties to rise above the political divide to save the farmers of the country.

Warning of a “grave social disorder as a consequence of this decision”, he said that he would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh soon to urge a withdrawal of the move.


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