Pro-Centre traders' body CAIT calls for Bharat Bandh on February 26

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Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 8

The staunchly pro-Modi government Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has called for a Bharat Trade Bandh on February 26 against the goods and services tax (GST), “one of the most complex taxation system which has resulted in misery to traders”.

The CAIT has also claimed the support of All India Transport Welfare Association (AITWA) which will carry out a ‘chakka jam’ on the same day.

“Repeated statements of CAIT were never responded by the GST Council, which has generated a feeling among the traders across the country that the council has its own agenda and it is not interested in obtaining cooperation of traders. We highly regret such dismal picture of GST and which has compelled the trade leaders attending the conference to call for a Bharat Trade Bandh,” said a statement.

Besides the complicated tax structure, the traders’ ire is directed at the absence of a consultative mechanism both at centre and states which is “against the declared policy of PM Modi for taking stakeholders into confidence while framing a policy or the rules and minimum government-maximum governance”, it said in a statement.

CAIT national president BC Bhartia and secretary general Praveen Khandelwal and AITWA chairman Pradeep Singhal jointly announced the stir plan on the opening day of a three day national trade conference at Nagpur.

“The GST Council has not only pampered various anomalies and distortions in ‘one nation-one tax’ principle of GST but has not taken any step to simplify the GST taxation system. The only aim of the GST Council so far is how to get more revenue and how to load the traders with more compliance burden without considering the ground realties of trade in India,” it said.

The traders concede that GST is a progressive taxation system but want it to be free from glitches, anomalies, disparities and distortions.

“Time and again, CAIT has expressed its view that the tax net of GST should be widened resulting into more revenue to the government but it is possible only when the GST is simplified to the extent that even a small trader operating his business activities at remote area could also be able to comply with GST without any external help,” said the statement.

The current state of increased administrative tax compliance burden on traders and a locking-up of working capital due to slow tax refund processing, has led to high compliance costs because the prevalence of multiple tax rates implies a need to classify inputs and outputs based on the applicable tax rate, it said.