The Indian Stamp (Himachal Pradesh Amendment) Bill, 2023, was passed in the assembly on Saturday amid protest and walkout by the BJP’s opposition group.
Now women will pay a 4% registration fee for a property worth Rs 80 lakh and an 8% fee if the value exceeds this point. The others will pay a 6% registration fee for a property worth Rs 50 lakh and 8% if the worth exceeds. Stamp duty in Himachal Pradesh had not been revised for the last 10 years. Revenue minister Jagat Singh Negi tabled the bill on Friday and the House passed it on Saturday.
The government accepted the BJP’s suggestion for increasing the property registration limit of Rs 50 lakh for women to Rs 80 lakh, but when chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu proposed some amendments, it led to adjournment for the lunch break, and the House reassembled to heated arguments on the issue. Sukhu regretted that the BJP had walked out even when the government had incorporated its input. The opposition returned.
Minister Jagat Singh Negi said that: “The state has a debt of Rs 75,000 crore, so strict measures are necessary to raise resources, for how long the state will continue with borrowings. The state government has kept this stamp fee on a par with the duty in neighbouring Haryana.” The CM said that: “In the last 10 months, enough land was sold based on power of attorney, which must stop. Due to our respect for women, we agreed to charge them just 4% for registering property worth Rs 80 lakh. If the BJP also had regard for women, it would not have walked out.”
During discussion on the bill, BJP MLA Randhir Sharma claimed that: “A higher stamp duty will burden the state’s people. The registration fee for land deals was 4 to 6%, but it will reach up to 8% for every property above Rs 50 lakh. Far from giving the promised Rs 1,500 monthly stipend to women, the government has robbed them by charging them a higher registration fee.”
MLA Trilok Jamwal said the overall fee hike was 100%, while most people didn’t have that much land. State’s leader of opposition Jai Ram Thakur said: “An increase of up to 5% can be tolerated, but the latest hike is too much. The public’s sources of income have shrunken, so the government should reconsider its decision.