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MCD passes `professional tax' proposal amid protests

By Our Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI, NOV. 17. In yet another major step towards introducing "professional tax" in the Capital, the Congress-ruled Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) House today passed the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Tax on Professions, Trades, Callings and Employments) Bye-laws, 2004, amid protest and walkout by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) councillors.

The tax proposal was tabled by the Leader of the House, Satbir Singh, and supported by the MCD Standing Committee Chairman, Mukesh Goel, and passed by the Congress majority House. Though the BJP's Leader of the Opposition, Subhash Arya, and the BJP councillor, Vijender Gupta, opposed the move demanding that the Congress should include in the proposal that the tax would not be introduced from the next financial year.

However, Mr. Goel said the Congress never wanted to put additional burden on the people and had no intention of implementing the tax hence there was no need to make any changes in the proposal. However, the BJP councillors alleged that the Congress' argument was only to befool the people and the party's pro-poor approach was nothing but a sham. As their demand was not accepted, all the BJP councillors staged a walkout from the House in protest warning people to get ready for yet another financial burden on their shoulders after hike in taxes and fuel prices.

The by-laws propose to levy the new tax on government servants, professionals, workers and traders that would be between Rs.20 to Rs.200 per month depending on their monthly wage. The tax is estimated to make the Corporation richer by Rs.120 crores. After being passed by the Standing Committee and the MCD House, the by-laws will now be sent for the Delhi Cabinet's approval and later the Lieutenant-Governor for notification.

The by-laws states that those earning between Rs.5,001 and Rs.6,000 will have to pay Rs.20 per month as professional tax that would go up by Rs.10 per thousand till the monthly wage reaches Rs.20,000. After that, the tax will be Rs.170 per month for salary slab Rs.20,000-Rs.30,000 per month, Rs.180 for Rs.30,000-Rs.40,000 and Rs.190 for Rs.40,000-Rs.50,000. And Rs.200 per month will be charged from those earning Rs.50,000 and above.

Similarly, slabs for charging professional tax have also been prepared for traders according to their annual turnover, for factory-owners and shop-owners according to the number of workers employed, while a fixed amount of professional tax will be charged from those owning fuel stations and dealerships, owners of distilleries and bottling plants, nursing homes, cinema halls, video parlours, beauty parlours, coaching institutes, restaurants and hotels, transporters, auto-rickshaw and three-wheeler goods vehicles, trucks and buses owners, lawyers, doctors and professional consultants among others.

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