Faced with huge revenue losses resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and the prolonged lockdown in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday gave the go-ahead to the imposition of Covid cess on liquor with immediate effect.
The move will help the state mop additional revenues of Rs 145 crore in the current fiscal, a government statement said.
The state is facing a revenue shortfall of Rs 26,000 crore, which is 30 per cent of the total budget revenue estimates for FY 2020-21, necessitating some tough measures to generate additional revenue, said the Chief Minister, while accepting the recommendation of the group of ministers, which was constituted on May 12 to examine the matter, to levy additional excise duty on liquor during the current financial year.
The proceeds of the additional levy shall be utilised entirely for Covid related expenditure, said the Chief Minister, directing the Department of Excise and Taxation to charge the cess in the current year.
Amarinder Singh had earlier asked the group of ministers, comprising the Finance Minister, the Education Minister, the Housing and Urban Development Minister and the Forests and Wildlife Minister, to examine the proposal regarding levy of special cess or Covid cess on the sale of liquor to partially recoup some of the revenue losses amid this unprecedented crisis. (IANS)
To further strengthen the management and control of COVID-19, the Punjab government on Friday increased the penalties for violation of guidelines relating to containment of the virus, ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 3,000.
Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said penalties need to be increased and made more stringent to keep the state safe from the virus.
He said Rs 500 penalty will be imposed for not wearing a mask and spitting in public places; Rs 2,000 for violating home-quarantine instructions and violating social distancing norms by owners of shops, commercial places and public transport buses and auto-rickshaws; and Rs 3,000 for violating social distancing norms in cars.
Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta on Tuesday barred all police personnel with medical issues, as well as women cops with children under five from the frontline duty in a bid to protect them from undue exposure to the risk of Covid-19.
The decision has been approved by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who has asked the DGP to ensure all protective and welfare measures for the corona warriors.
The DGP said there had been concerns expressed on this count during several calls received on the newly launched tele-counselling facility for anxious police corona warriors and their families.
At present, there are over 48,000 police personnel engaged in curfew enforcement and relief measures across the state and the tele-counselling facility was launched on April 20 to equip police officers and their families with additional information and skills to cope with the psychological aspects of the Covid-19 duties, including a high degree of risk of contracting infection. (IANS)