In a Diwali gift to traders, the Punjab Cabinet led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Monday gave approval for introducing the One Time Settlement (OTS) Scheme for settling pre-GST arrears, benefitting more than 60,000 traders.
A decision to this effect was taken by the Council Of Ministers at its meeting here.A spokesperson for the Chief Minister’s Office said the scheme has been launched for recovery of outstanding dues for settlement of pre-GST arrears to enable reduction of compliance burden of legacy cases.
The OTS will be applicable from November 15 and will be valid till March 15, 2024, and taxpayers whose assessments have been framed till March 31, 2023, with amount of total demand (tax, penalty and interest up to March 31, 2023) up to Rs 1 crore shall be eligible to apply for settlement under this scheme.
The OTS would provide complete waiver in case of arrears up to Rs 1 lakh as on March 31 which would cover nearly 39,787 cases and a further waiver of 100 per cent interest, 100 per cent penalty and 50 per cent of the tax amount is being given in nearly 19,361 cases.
On the pattern of neighbouring Haryana, the Cabinet also gave nod to start ‘Mukh Mantri’ Tirath Yatra Scheme for enabling the people of the state to visit various pilgrimage sites across the country free of cost from the upcoming Parkash Purab of Guru Nanak Dev on November 27.
The pilgrimage places include Sri Hazur Sahib Nanded, Patna Sahib, Varanasi, Ayodhya mandir, Vrindavan, Sri Ajmer Sharif, Anandpur Sahib, Amritsar, Mata Vaishno Devi, Mata Jawalaji, among others.
As per the scheme, there will be two modes of travel. For long-distance destinations, the mode of travel will be train whereas for shorter distances the mode of travel will be by road.
The Cabinet also gave its consent to double ex-gratia grant of disabled soldiers both from military and para-military force with disability from 76 to 100 per cent to Rs 40 lakh, disabled soldiers with 51 to 75 per cent disability to Rs 20 lakh and disabled soldiers with 25 to 50 per cent disability to Rs 10 lakh.
Soldiers with disability from 76 to 100 per cent were earlier getting Rs 20 lakh, disabled soldiers with 51 to 75 per cent were getting Rs 10 lakh and disabled soldiers with 25 to 50 per cent disability were earlier getting Rs 5 lakh as assistance.
The move is aimed at ensuring the well-being of ex-servicemen and their dependents to ensure that they lead a dignified life in society, an official statement said.