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BJP defends exempting women from paying stamp duty

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Urges Governor to reconsider order reversing previous govt's decision

Jammu, Jan 28: Jammu and Kashmir unit of the BJP Monday urged Governor Satya Pal Malik to reconsider the Finance department's notification reversing the previous government's "historic decision" of exempting women from paying stamp duty on registration of land.

The statement comes days after former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said Malik's move to reverse the previous government's decision, exempting women from paying stamp duty on property registration, had negated her efforts towards women empowerment.

The PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir collapsed last year when the saffron party pulled out from the coalition government in June, a month after the Mehbooa-led government passed the major decision to abolish stamp duty on the properties being registered in the name of women members of the family.

In a statement here, former minister and BJP spokesperson Priya Sethi said the decision to abolish stamp duty was done with the sole aim of giving women a defence against violence and inculcating a sense of security among them.

"The decision was historic and appreciated all over the state as women who were having no property in their name always felt insecure. It was after this decision that a large number of people in order to save stamp duty preferred to get registration of properties done in the name of women. This way they empowered women and provided them a sense of security," she said.

On January 25, the Finance department issued a notification reversing the decision of the previous government and said three percent stamp duty on market value of land or area will be charged from the women for registration of land on their names in both urban and rural areas.

According to the notification, the government has also increased stamp duty on all registrations from five percent to seven percent in both urban as well as rural areas.

Urging the Governor to reverse the decision of the Finance department, Sethi said, "Women in the state own very little properties and their holdings in small towns were almost negligible or very less. There are several enterprising women who want to set up their own units, becomes self reliant and then buy residential properties but such a decision can jeopardise their efforts and discourage them."

On January 26, Mehbooba had reacted angrily to the order and tweeted, "As far as empowering women is concerned, all our efforts are negated by the governor's recent decision. One fails to understand why my government's historic decision to levy no stamp duty on property registered in the names of females was revoked."

In a statement, Mehbooba had termed the order as "undemocratic" and said the decision taken by an elected government in the state cannot be scraped by the present dispensation.

"There has to be a limit to how far the governor's administration can go. It needs to draw a line for its actions," Mehbooba had said.

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