Animal lovers in Punjab are in for a rude shock as the Government has decided to levy a pet tax on people residing in urban areas.
According to the draft by-laws, the Department of Local Administration, headed by Navjot Singh Siddhu, a minister in the government, has codified that all domestic animals – including cats, dogs, pigs, buffaloes and horses among others – will now be taxed.
The notification also segregates the tax payers into two categories. The order says that all urban residents of Punjab will have to pay Rs 250 yearly for keeping animals like cat, dog, pig, sheep, deer, etc. This amount will double itself for domesticating animals such as buffalo, bull, horse, cow, camel, and elephant among others.
Not just this, the government order has further stated that each and every domesticated animals will need to have a “branding code” identification number or mark on code branding or microchip installed on the animal by a government agency. This will enable the government or the municipality to collect taxes from the animal owners.
With a pet tax and branding code not being enough for animals kept at home, the owners would also have to obtain licenses from the authorities to keep pets. And such licenses would have to be renewed on a yearly basis.
Imposition of a pet taxes could stir up much trouble in Punjab as the state, along with Kerala and Goa, is regarded as one of the most urbanized regions in India, where a lot of people keep animal as pets.
In what needs to kept in mind is that Punjab is in a major financial crisis, and this new tax, in no way will help to reduce the ballooning deficit.