Maharashtra retailers demand relief in levies, taxes
Mumbai, Nov 22 (IANS) Alarmed by the drastic, post-demonetisation fall in trade, commerce and business activities to the tune of around 75 per cent, Maharashtra traders have demanded various types of concessions to help them tide over losses and regain consumers, an official said here on Tuesday.
The Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA) delegation led by President Viren Shah met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and apprised him of the situation since the Centre’s November 8 ban on 500- and 1,000-rupee notes.
They informed the Chief Minister how the 1.20 million retailers and shopkeepers, including 350,000 in Mumbai, are hit by the cash crunch and low sale as customers have avoided purchasing, except for emergency items.
“We informed how weddings were being postponed, other events cancelled — hitting caterers, decorators, and the supply chain which works on spot cash payments,” Shah said.
“In India, sales with debit-credit cards is barely 25 per cent in urban centres while the rest is in cash,” Shah told IANS after the meeting.
The FRTWA meeting came a day after they met Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, who sympathised with their problems that have hit direct and counter sales badly.
“Owing to the uncertainties in the markets, we have sought concessions in VAT, petrol/diesel taxes, electricity charges, ticket rates in buses/trains, reduction in debit/credit charges, and also reduction in Income Tax slab,” Viren Shah said.
“Presently only one per cent population is paying IT of around Rs 1.25 crore out of the 125 crore people,” he said.
Hence, Shah pointed out, 99 per cent of the population deals in cash and does not pay taxes, putting retailers to great hardships.
As problems have been compounded by the lack of cash withdrawals from banks and ATMs, so certain tax incentive packages and other concessions could help ease the miseries, he added.
The FRTWA has demanded special counters for shopkeepers in bank branches to change the new Rs 2,000 currency notes and other smaller currencies and coins, installing additional ATMs for customers.
“Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked all elected representatives to ensure people standing in queues are looked after, unfortunately we have not seen any of them on the road to help the public,” Shah rued.
He said with such measures from the central and state governments, people can get relief and support the government’s resolve to combat the menace of black money, fake currency and terror funding .