Power is set to cost more in Punjab following a proposal by Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal to increase the electricity duty by 3 per cent in his Budget for 2010—11, presented in the assembly on Tuesday.
Mr. Badal, in budget estimates for the coming financial year said the electricity duty was proposed to be hiked from 5 per cent to 8 per cent for funding the green initiatives of the government. This comprises a three-point programme focusing on agriculture, energy and water.
“The Green Initiative of the government of Punjab is a climate change action plan. It is a comprehensive strategy to address the most critical aspects of the challenge posed by the climate change,” he said.
The three per cent hike in electricity duty would fetch the State annually Rs. 270 crore, he said, adding that no other tax proposals have been mooted as Punjab would get “additional revenue of Rs. 1,930 crore in 2010-11” due to the resource mobilisation measures.
The Budget proposals would a leave revenue deficit, which is excess of government expenditure over receipts for meeting its current needs, of Rs. 3,787.73 crore.
Announcing slew of sops, the finance minister announced sharp cut in the entertainment duty payable by cinema halls from 125 per cent to 25 per cent, while fully exempting the theatres from tax.
Award scheme of Rs. one lakh annually for those getting admission to the Indian Military Academy and National Defence Academy was also proposed.