Himachal-Assembly-Passes-Amendment-Bill-for-Reduced-Stamp-Duty-on-Land-Purchase-for-WomenHimachal-Assembly-Passes-Amendment-Bill-for-Reduced-Stamp-Duty-on-Land-Purchase-for-Women

The Himachal Pradesh Assembly approves an amendment to lower stamp duty rates on land purchases for women, resulting in debates and opposition walkouts.

Introduction: A Landmark Change in Stamp Duty Policy

In a significant move, the Himachal Pradesh Assembly has passed an amendment to the stamp duty policy, particularly benefiting women in the state. This change aims to provide substantial relief to women seeking to purchase land by revising the stamp duty rates.

Opposition’s Unrest: Lack of Transparency

The amendment was not without its share of controversy, with Leader of Opposition Jairam Thakur raising concerns about the lack of transparency in sharing the amendment details with the opposition. This led to heated debates between the Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) from both sides, eventually resulting in the opposition walking out of the House.

Chief Minister’s Response: Accusations and Counteraccusations

Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, in response to the opposition’s walkout, accused them of being not only anti-state but also anti-women. He expressed disappointment that while the government aimed to provide relief to women, the opposition was opposing these efforts.

Stamp Duty Revision for Women: Lower Rates

Under the newly amended policy, women purchasing land valued up to Rs 80 lakh will now pay only four percent in stamp duty. This is a notable increase from the previous exemption limit of Rs 50 lakh, making land ownership more accessible to women.

Rates for Men and GPA Fee Increase

For men, the stamp duty rate stands at six percent for land purchases up to Rs 50 lakh and eight percent for purchases exceeding this threshold. Additionally, the General Power of Attorney (GPA) fee has been significantly raised from Rs 100 to Rs 1000, Rs 150 to Rs 1500, and Rs 200 to Rs 2000. Notably, a minimum stamp duty of Rs 5000 has been introduced for properties valued at Rs 1000 or less.

Opposition’s Concerns and Suggestions

The opposition expressed reservations about the sudden increase in GPA fees and proposed a more gradual adjustment. They also highlighted the potential challenges this increase could pose for rural residents in meeting the stamp duty requirements.

Government’s Justification: Learning from Neighboring States

Revenue Minister Jagat Singh Negi defended the stamp duty revision by citing studies of neighboring states like Haryana and Punjab. The government aimed to strike a balance between making land ownership more accessible and ensuring a fair revenue collection system.

Conclusion

The amendment to the stamp duty policy in Himachal Pradesh, particularly benefiting women, has triggered debates and protests within the Assembly. While the government contends that this move aligns with regional trends and promotes women’s land ownership, the opposition calls for a more gradual approach to policy changes. The debate over stamp duty rates continues to be a topic of contention in the state’s legislative proceedings.

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