Members of the General Samaj Party’s trade wing demanded that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates be lowered to curb the corruption in the business sector and improve tax compliance. They also sought an end to the indirect tax system. The traders said the government was responsible for the unending corruption and tax evasion in the business sector. The high rate of tax had burdened the small and medium-scale traders who were finding it difficult to survive in the industry, they said. Bhushan Jain, president of trade wing said, “The system of uniform tax structure for all traders and industrialists is harsh. It takes a heavy toll on small and medium-scale traders operating at the lower-rung of supply-chain hierarchy. Even during British rule, the decision of introducing indirect tax was dropped after the traders’ fraternity opposed the same. After independence, despite strong opposition from traders, indirect sales tax was introduced in 1956. It later took the form of VAT and recently, the GST was introduced.”
“The GST not only burdened small-scale traders with high rates of tax, but it also introduced a complex system for filing returns. Why will a trader evade taxes or resort to underbilling or corruption if the tax rates are within his paying capacity. If the Union Government is really concerned about improving tax compliance and curbing corruption in business, they must reduce the tax rates so that traders can work without any burden,” added Jain. He said the government wants to burden the small traders with high tax rates and thus, benefit the big corporate houses. Moreover, under the garb of democracy and tackling corruption, they want to continue with an indirect tax system which would push the small traders to the lowest ebb, said members of the party.