Interim Budget: Govt likely to announce sops for exporters, traders ahead of general elections

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Government is mulling various sops for one of the key segment of its vote bank – traders- such as kirana shop owners, wholesalers as well as exporters ahead of general elections, reported the Times of India. It may be noted that goods and services tax (GST) and demonetisation had the worst impact on traders. According to the ToI report, the govt is considering sops like insurance cover, cashback on digital payments, subsidies and finance option for buying computers and digitisation of business for traders. “The government will pay the premium for traders who are registered under GST. The other steps are expected to upgrade and modernise the existing retail trade,” the daily quoted a source as saying.

Worth mentioning here that recently the government made many relaxations in the GST structure to woo small traders, which is seen as Narendra Modi administration’s efforts to reach out to small businesses. During the last few weeks, discussions at the official level have been held at the level of cabinet secretary and the department of industrial policy and promotion is looking at the elements of what is being billed as a “retail policy”, the publication quoted sources as saying.  The Centre is also working on a separate package for exporters. The plan involves a new incentive scheme for exporters, which will address the concerns of countries such as the US that have dragged India to the WTO, the daily said.

The ToI report citing govt sources said the commerce department has worked out a proposal under which the current incentive scheme through Merchandise Exports from India Scheme will only be available for farm exports. For other products, a duty and tax refund mechanism on the lines of Rebate on State Levies will be offered, where the plan is to cover the cost incurred by exporters on aspects such as property registration as well. Already, some sops have been announced but the plan is to build on it, the ToI report said citing an unnamed govt officer.

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