New Delhi: Describing himself a "baniya" who understands business, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal on Monday sought to woo the traders community ahead of the Assembly polls, by promising to restructure the tax regime in Delhi and to put an end to "extortion and raid racket" by the VAT department.
Addressing a traders rally, at the bustling Nehru Place, Kejriwal announced a slew of measures for them, saying if voted to power, his party will create a business-friendly environment and make Delhi a wholesale and distribution hub in the country.
The AAP leader described himself a trader, and said he understood the "dhandha".
"I am from the trader community and I understand the trade (mayn baniya hun aur dhandha samjhta hun)," Kejriwal said, adding, "We want you to do your business with full honesty and pay taxes."
"There will be minimum interference from the government. Our party's policy is not to indulge in raids, but trust the traders. Our government will see the end of VAT raids and extortion racket and create a business-friendly environment," he said.
The former Delhi chief minister recalled his short-lived regime and alleged that soon after his departure, traders were "harassed" by the VAT department.
"This is what we did during our 49-day rule. Traders were never harassed during our rule. In fact, the VAT collection during our regime was the highest, but declined soon after we resigned, which was followed by raids," Kejriwal claimed.
He also assured to restructure the tax regime in Delhi to help boost business and said the party will have a "single- window" clearance system for those wanting to open businesses in Delhi.
He added that there will be an easy tax filing and assessment with well-defined and streamlined procedure. Kejriwal promised that all transactions would be made online to reduce the interface with Delhi government. Licences can be applied for and received at home, which will reduce the avenues and opportunities for corruption.
"Trade is hampered due to red tape and bureaucracy. If anyone wants to open a business in Delhi, he will get all the necessary permissions in seven days. If that is delayed then he can come to the chief minister's office and take his permission.
"In next five years, we will have the lowest VAT in the country. 30 pages of VAT forms will be made into one simple page for traders. This will help create a business-friendly environment in Delhi. If that happens business will increase and will create jobs. Reduction of VAT will also help in bringing down the costs and thus reduce inflation," Kejriwal said.