In a first for the country, pet animals in urban areas of Punjab will be taxed at the rate of Rs 250-500 per head, television channel AajTak reported.
UPDATE: The Punjab government has denied the AajTak report and said it had no plans to tax animals or pets. Hindustan Times reported that the government backed off due to the ridicule it attracted on social media.
According to a notification that has been issued by the Department of Local Administration headed by Navjot Singh Siddhu, all pet animals will taxed, including cats, dogs, horses, pigs, buffaloes and cows, the channel said.
It is not clear if the tax will apply to birds such as chicken and parrots.
The channel said the law will be applicable to all areas that fall within municipalities or municipal corporations, and not in Panchayats.
Any failure to make the payment will result in penalty of ten times the tax amount, the report said.
If that too is not paid, the pet will be impounded by municipal authorities.
It is not clear whether the law has already come into effect or whether some more legal formalities are required for it to come into effect.
Normally, any law that has been notified by the government comes into effect without any further paperwork, unless the detailed rules are missing from the notification.
The move is likely to create a lot of resentment in Punjab, which — along with Goa and Kerala — is among the most urbanized states in India.
Many people keep cats, pigeons and dogs as pets, and may not like being taxed for doing so.
It could also hurt the earnings of dairy farmers, who may not have to pay thousands of rupees per year as ‘pet tax’ to the municipality.