Punjab government hikes state share in New Pension Scheme
Punjab Government decided to increase its share in the New Pension Scheme, in line with the Central Government’s decision, with effect from April 1, 2019
In a decision benefiting more than 1.50 lakh state government employees, the Punjab Government on Monday decided to increase its share in the New Pension Scheme, in line with the Central Government’s decision, with effect from April 1, 2019 — accepting a major demand of various state government employee unions.
Punjab Cabinet, led by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, has decided to hike the state’s monthly matching contribution for employees under the New Pension Scheme from 10 to 14 percent of Basic Pay plus Dearness Allowance (DA).
This is in consonance with the notification issued by the Union Ministry of Finance’s Department of Financial Services on January 31, 2019.
The Government has also agreed to give the benefit of death-cum-retirement gratuity to all the State Government employees, recruited on or after January 1, 2004 and covered under the New Pension Scheme.
In another decision, the Cabinet gave ex-post facto approval to the Department of Finance’s proposal to allow implementation of the benefit of ex-gratia to the dependents of employees recruited on or after January 1, 2004, who die in harness, on the lines of benefits extended under the old pension scheme.
The total number of the State Government employees is 3,53,074, of whom 1,52,646 are covered under the New Pension Scheme (NPS).
The annual expenditure on account of contribution by the State at the rate of 10 percent of basic pay-plus-DA for the employees covered under NPS during the financial year 2018-19 was Rs 585 crore and during the financial year 2019-20 is expected to be Rs 645 crore.
Since the Punjab Government has largely adopted the Central Government guidelines as far as the NPS is concerned, the monthly matching contribution of the State Government to 14 percent of basic pay-plus-DA for its employees covered under NPS will be enhanced from April 1, 2019.
The decision would put an additional financial burden of Rs 258 crore. “The annual financial implication of enhancement in the matching contribution will be Rs 258 crore over and above the earlier contribution of Rs 645 crore,” said the spokesperson.
PUNJAB TO AMEND STATE GST ACT
The Punjab Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Act, 2017 is all set to be suitably amended, in line with the Central GST Act, to further promote ease of business in the state.
The State Cabinet approved the Punjab Goods and Services Tax Ordinance, 2019 to make amendments in accordance with those made to the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017, of which it was a replica, vide Finance (No.2) Bill, 2019.
Notably, the GST Council, in its 35th meeting held on June, 21, 2019, had recommended various amendments in the provisions of Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017. The same were incorporated in the Finance (No. 2) Bill, 2019, and received the Presidential Assent on August 1, 2019.
Similar amendments need to be carried out in the Punjab Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017, in order to safeguard the interests of taxpayers and promote hassle-free business, said the spokesperson.
The Ordinance, approved on Monday by the Cabinet, provides for an alternative composition scheme for supplier of services or mixed suppliers (not eligible for the earlier composition scheme), having an annual turnover in preceding financial year up to Rs 50 lakhs.
It further provides for higher threshold exemption limit from Rs 25 lakhs, to such amount not exceeding Rs 40 lakhs, in case of a supplier who is engaged exclusively in the supply of goods.
It also provides for furnishing of annual returns and for quarterly payment of tax by taxpayer who opts for composition levy, as well as mandatory Aadhaar submission or authentication for persons who intend to take or have taken registration.
The amendment will also empower the PGST Commissioner to extend the due date for furnishing annual return and reconciliation statement which will give taxpayers the facility to transfer an amount from one head to another in the electronic cash ledger, among other benefits.