NEW DELHI: The Union government has finalised a draft ‘Indian Stamp Bill, 2023’ to have a modern stamp duty regime, paving the way for the e-stamping of digital instruments in line with its focus on e-governance and removing traces of redundant colonial laws, one of the five pledges enunciated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August 2022, a government official said.

The finance ministry said a draft Indian Stamp Bill, 2023 has been proposed to align the law with a modern stamp duty regime (FILE PHOTO/Representative Image)

“The new law will equip India for a seamless digital era as it has a provision of e-stamping digitally,” the official said requesting anonymity.

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The draft law defines an electronic stamp or e-stamp as an electronically generated impression denoting the payment of stamp duty by electronic means or otherwise.

Stamp duties are levied by the central government, but within the states where they are levied, are collected and appropriated by the states concerned.

While delivering his Independence Day speech on August 15,2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about five pledges, or ‘panch pran’, for the next 25 years – the goal of a developed India, removing a colonial mindset, taking pride in India’s roots, unity, and a sense of duty among the citizens.

“Once enacted, the Bill shall replace the Indian Stamp Act, 1899,” the finance ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. The Indian Stamp Act, 1899 is a fiscal statute laying down the law relating to tax levied in the form of stamps on instruments recording transactions.

The Indian Stamp Act has been amended from time to time to enable a more modern stamp duty regime but it still has a number of provisions that have become redundant and inoperative. “… and hence, there is a need to re-orient the Indian Stamp Act, 1899,” the finance ministry statement said.

“Accordingly, it has been proposed that the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 is repealed and a new legislation is enacted to reflect the present realities and objectives,” it added. The government has initiated a pre-legislative consultative process and invited suggestions from the public. The government has given one month to the public for its suggestions on this matter.

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