Women in Jammu and Kashmir have welcomed the decision by the State government to approve zero percent stamp duty on the purchase of property by them.“It’s a welcome step. The move will help women scale up the social ladder in J&K,” said Nazia Ashraf, a businesswoman.The Cabinet on Friday approved to levy a stamp duty of 5% for buyers in urban areas and 3% in rural areas. “However, it is zero percent if the property in both urban as well as rural areas is registered in the name of a female member of the family,” reads the Cabinet decision, approved by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday evening.Earlier, the stamp duty was at seven percent.Ms. Mufti claimed women in J&K, as of now, owned bare minimum immovable assets even after contributing the maximum to the society. “This incentive will encourage families to register their properties in the name of their sisters, daughters, wives and mothers,” said Ms. Mufti.Former finance minister and MLA Rajpora Hasseb Drabu described the government move as a creative way of empowerment by market incentives. “It will help gender balancing of social power relations,” said Mr. Drabu.According to the 2011 census, there are 859 females per 1000 males in J&K and female literacy rate stands at 58.01 percent.
Campaigning for the by-election to Pithoragarh Assembly seat came to an end on Saturday with both the BJP and the Congress trying to woo the voters. While the BJP sought a mandate describing itself as a party that believes in serving people quietly, the Congress raked up the issues of “growing unemployment, rising prices and stalled development schemes” initiated during its government’s tenure. Addressing a meeting for party nominee Chandra Pant at the Ramlila ground in Pithoragarh, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said his government released ₹350 crore for the development of the constituency in the last two years — the highest by any government for the district.Highlighting various steps taken by his government to boost the road and air connectivity, Mr. Rawat said the Tanakpur-Pithoragarh stretch, which is the part of an ambitious all-weather road project, is nearing completion. He said his government is in talks with several aviation companies to streamline air services from Pithoragarh to Hindon and Dehradun. The bypoll was necessitated due to the death of Prakash Pant, whose wife Ms. Chandra is contesting from the seat.