Assembly passes HP stamp duty amendment bill
Shimla, Sept 23
The Himachal Pradesh assembly has approved an amendment to the HP Stamp Duty Bill, which relaxes the eight percent stamp duty for property registration up to 80 lakhs exclusively for women. Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu explained that this amendment aims to prevent common people with small landholdings from being affected by the increased stamp duty. He noted that many property transactions were taking place through power of attorney, often involving sales to outsiders.
In response to a suggestion by BJP MLA Randhir Sharma, the Chief Minister agreed to amend the bill, substituting the hike in stamp duty for lakhs for women.
Revenue Minister Jagat Singh Negi dismissed opposition objections, emphasizing the state’s financial burden and the need for strong decisions. He pointed out that only a small percentage of the population deals with stamp duty, and the neighbouring state of Haryana has similar rates. Negi argued that the central government has also increased prices in various sectors over the years.
Randhir Sharma from the BJP expressed concerns about the tenfold increase in power of attorney fees, from Rs 100 to Rs 1000, and called for a rollback of this increase. He also criticized the discrimination against women in the new stamp duty rates, urging the government to maintain the previous exemptions for women.
Leader of the Opposition, Jai Ram Thakur, called for reflection of women’s empowerment in the policy and criticized the financial burden placed on women. BJP Member Trilok Jamwal suggested that the stamp duty limit be set at five percent instead of four percent to account for the doubling of the rate.
Following the government’s acceptance of the opposition’s proposal for an additional amendment, BJP members walked out of the house during the reply to the bill’s passage. The Chief Minister pointed out that the BJP had initially proposed the amendment but was now opposing it. The amendment was ultimately passed by the treasury benches with voice votes in the absence of the opposition.
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