Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal has promised Delhi-based IT Association ADCTA a restructuring of the VAT system under which Delhi would have the lowest rates among the cities, if the party comes to power in the February election.
The ADCTA had invited Ex-Chief Minister of Delhi to the Nehru Place to discuss the traders issues at large. The year 2014 has been a year of protests, rallies, dharnas and unity for the traditional offline traders, who have been fighting the predatory pricing of the emerging online business.
“During our 49-day rule, traders were never harassed. In fact, the VAT collection during our regime was the highest but declined soon after we resigned due to the raids that were carried out,” Kejriwal said.
Highlighting the plight of traders related to VAT department raids at the shops of traders, Mahinder Aggarwal, president, ADCTA shared their VAT and local amenities’ issues with the AAP team. He also said, “Due to online business, the sale of offline traders have been reduced due to this their is sudden drop in tax collections.”
Swarn Singh, Joint Secretary, ADCTA requested Kejriwal to look into the online pricing issue, which was hurting the businesses of lakh of traders in Delhi. He also sought a level playing field and freedom to conduct their business, without the fear of any tax department raids.
Addressing the traders, Kejriwal promised to discontinue VAT raids, unless there were indications of corruption or some other exceptional situation. He also promised that VAT rules, processes and forms will be simplified and all transactions will be made online.Kejriwal also suggested that a portion of the VAT collection from each locality and market may be used for the maintenance and upgradation of that market.
Promising to establish Delhi as India’s largest service hub and trading zone, Kejriwal said that trade is hampered due to red tape and bureaucracy and the procedure for starting a business in Delhi will also be simplified. “If anyone wants to open a business in Delhi, he will get all the necessary permissions in seven days. If that is delayed, he can come to the chief minister’s office for permission. Rules and regulations for running and establishing industry will be streamlined while the licensing procedure will be simplified through single-window clearances,” he said.
AAP has promised that no policy on traders will be formulated without their involvement. To improve existing industrial areas, better facilities like roads, water and electricity will also be provided.
Responding to questions on e-commerce, Kejriwal said that while the party was not against e-shopping, it would certainly investigate the matter if it finds they were breaking the rules.