The Jammu and Kashmir cabinet on Friday passed a significant decision of exempting properties from taxes purchased by women or on her name by the family members.
The aim of the decision apparently seems to empower the women who faces lots of trauma and insecurity in the male dominating society. The cabinet decision reads, “There will be zero stamp duty in case the property is registered in name of the female member of the family,” However, the decision also reduced the stamp duty on properties from 7 to 5 per cent purchased by males.
The decision was widely welcomed with no critics coming forward barring few leaders from the opposition political parties fearing that the move may encourage corrupt people to evade stamp duty while buying properties in the name of female family members.
Nevertheless, the decision of the cabinet headed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was appreciated within and outside the political circles. Since Mehbooba Mufti is herself a woman and first woman chief minister of state, it is understood that her decision is intended to empower the women folk. A rural woman who had strident struggle at her back before taking over the reins of state, it is to be believed that the Chief Minister understands well the conditions of a common women in state.
The women here has a lesser role in the decision making at home, forget about seeing her becoming partner in the economic and a social affairs of family. This decision probably may boost her morale and social security and the growing crimes against this weaker sex though may not end but can be reduced to a significant level. However, at the same time the decision may have lots of issues in making and there are potential chances that her name may be misused to hide the misdemeanours of men folk.
Since the real estate industry across the world is the fastest growing and values total of 217 trillion US dollars. In India its total worth by 2020 is estimated to be 180 billion dollars and in housing sector alone it continues 1 per cent to the total economy. While in most of the states it is well organized sector and has less chances for the wrong doings, in Jammu and Kashmir the sector is totally unorganized. It is into the clutches of few influential people and widely wielding the influence in government sector to hide their wrong doings and evading taxes.
There is no comprehensive policy formulated by the government regarding this sector and especially in the housing sector which sees a steep growth to save the land and ensure that the taxes are levied properly by the people engaged in the business. The existing revenue laws seems either ineffective to control the corruption or not executed properly. So this decision will come as another opportunity for these land mafias to percolate their vested interests in the name of women empowerment.
While the zero per cent duty on properties purchased by women will incur huge revenue losses to the state exchequer it is at the same time responsibility of state government to ensure the law is not misused by vested powers in the power corridors of the government. The revenue sector of state has already a gross corruption and so far no concrete measures came up to discourage the practice.
This goodwill gesture by the woman Chief Minister for the woman folk of state will be “litmus test” for her government to ensure the dividends aimed to reach to the women of state reaches to her and ensure her name is not misused by her family members to flourish their businesses and she continues to be on back seat and only called at the time of receiving or handing over of property papers in this business by her male family members.