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Bharat Bandh on February 26: Indian Traders’ Body to Protest Against Rising Fuel Prices, GST and E-Way Bill

Representative image

Representative image

Responding to CAIT’s call for the bandh, nearly 40,000 trade associations, representing eight crore traders of the country, have extended their support.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) will observe Bharat Bandh (nationwide shutdown) on Friday against Goods and Services Tax (GST), rising fuel prices, the E-Way Bill among others issues. Responding to CAIT’s call for the bandh, nearly 40,000 trade associations, representing eight crore traders of the country, have extended their support. Additionally, the apex body of the organised road transportation companies – the All India Transport Welfare Association (AITWA), has also extended their support to the cause and announced they will hold a ‘Chakka Jam’ (road blockade) on the same day.

Both associations have demanded abolition of the new E-Way Bill or scrapping of certain rules from it. They have also urged the government to roll back heavy taxes on fuel prices, especially diesel and make it uniform pan India.

The CAIT has also cited the GST as ‘one of the most complex taxation systems, which has resulted in misery to traders.’ In a statement, the confederation said that repeated statements and missives from CAIT were ‘never responded to by the GST Council’. Their ignorance has generated a feeling in the country that the council has ‘its own agenda’ and doesn’t seem to be interested in seeking the cooperation of traders. “We highly regret such a dismal attitude and picture of the GST which has compelled the trade union leaders attending the conference to call for a Bharat Trade Bandh,” the statement further read.

On Sunday, they even wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising issues related to the GST regime and alleging violation of e-commerce rules by major e-tailer companies.

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They have also expressed their view that the tax net of GST should be widened resulting into more revenue to the government. But due to disparities, distortions and deficiencies in the current tax regime they are facing loss in revenue. “The GST needs to be simplified’ to the extent that even a small trader operating his from remote area/s should also be able to comply with GST without any external help,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, by extending their support to the nationwide shutdown, AITWA’s National President Mahendra Arya said, “All state level-transport associations have confirmed their support to AITWA in this one-day non-operation of transport in protest to abolish the new E-way bill laws and of the fuel price hike introduced by the Centre”.He also said that the apex transport association demands of abolishing the E-Way bill as the new bill was not good enough to address their woes. “Transporters should not be subjected to various penalties issued by the government for any time-based compliance target of transit,” he said.