Traders seek GST relief

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Small traders of Dhanbad and Bokaro have demanded relief in goods and services tax (GST) in the wake of the novel coronavirus-induced lockdown that has led to a slump in business.

Surendra Arora, former president of Bank Mor Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a member of state GST advisory committee, on Saturday wrote a letter to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, demanding the government to reimburse at least 25 per cent of GST deposited by them in the last financial year (2019-20) as compensation for the loss of business during the lockdown.

Talking to The Telegraph on Sunday, Arora, who is also former vice-president of Federation of Dhanbad Zilla Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FDZCCI), said: “We are facing unprecedented crisis because of the lockdown as huge consignments of seasonal goods are perishing or getting damaged. Moreover, despite the lack of income, we have to pay salaries to our staff, power charges, loan interests, rents for shops and godowns and school fees of our children. We also have to meet our household expenses,” Arora, who owns a gift shop in the Bank Mor area, said.

Some felt that providing relief to honest traders who had submitted the GST on time in this hour of unprecedented financial crisis would encourage more traders to register themselves for GST.

President of Bokaro Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sanjay Baid, said: “Small traders are likely to be worst-affected by the lockdown. If the government fails to provide any relief to them, they will find it difficult to resist this blow.”

Baid said they would also send a similar letter seeking reimbursement to Sitharaman in a couple of days. He said the economy needed a stimulus for growth or else traders, including shop keepers, would be hit the hardest.

“The government also needs to ensure a fine balance between strict implementation of lockdown norms and allowing permissible services. For instance, the home ministry has through a notification allowed electricians and plumbers to offer their services, but they are facing difficulty in reaching houses because the police and administration are acting tough,” Baid said.

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