Maha likely to raise stamp duty, tax e-commerce transaction, impose cess on mobile users

Burdened with a high public debt of Rs 3.44 lakh crore and a revenue deficit of Rs 26,000 crore, the BJP-led government in Maharashtra may increase the stamp duty to Rs 500 from the present Rs 100 required to be paid on any transaction paper including declaration, affidavit or agreement. 

The Devendra Fadnavis government is all set to present its maiden budget in the state legislature on March 18.

The government hopes to mobilise about Rs 5,000 crore annually. Further, the government wants to make e-commerce transactions taxable on the lines of Kerala and Karnataka. This will add nearly Rs 1,000 crore to the state exchequer.

Moreover, the BJP-led government is contemplating imposition of a monthly cess  of Rs 10 on mobile users to mobilise Rs 1,440 crore annually. The government may introduce some cess when additional floor space index (FSI) is granted to the realty sector. The government expects to raise about Rs 500 to 1,000 crore annually.

In order to fulfil the poll promise to scrap local body tax (LBT) currently recovered by 25 municipal corporations, the government proposes to impose one or two per cent surcharge on value added tax (VAT)  from April 1 this year till the launch of goods and services tax (GST) from April next year.

The government will have to take a call whether the Octroi collected by the Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation will be abolished from April 1 this year or after the introduction of GST next year. The government will have to then ensure that annual revenue of Rs 15,000 crore earned by these 26 municipal corporations is protected for at least one year.

As far as toll cess is concerned, the chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has denied that BJP had never promised to totally abolish toll in the state but said the government is quite keen to rationalise toll rates.

Besides, a new toll policy is being proposed with a buy back arrangement in agreement with the contractor and also give concessions to few vehicles in the current toll collection deals.

State finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar told Business Standard, ”The government cannot increase taxes but it will now put in place a strict monitoring mechanism to evaluate how the allocated funds are used properly and in a time bound manner on proposed heads. The government will focus on further strengthening the physical infrastructure especially in the rural area, allot funds especially for those irrigation projects which are almost 75 to 85% complete and encourage jobs especially in the micro, small and medium enterprises.”

Further, the minister said special attention will be paid to increase the farm output through producer group. Besides, the government lays emphasis on the implementation of state wide water conservation project entitled Jalyukta Shivar Yojana.

According to Mungantiwar, the government will further encourage self help groups managed by the women in a bid to increase small businesses and jobs.