In the wake of Bharat Vyapar Bandh on 26 February call of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), the Government reach out to CAIT and a meeting was held today between CAIT together with All India Transporters Welfare Association (AITWA) and Finance Secretary Shri Ajay Bhushan Pandey & Chairman, CBDT PC Mody and another meeting with M Ajit Kumar, Chairman, CBIC. The delegation was led by CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal beside AITWA Chairman Pradeep Singhal Poonam Joshi, Chairman, GST Committee of CAIT . Other several senior officials of the Ministry were present during the discussion. The delegation handed over a detailed memorandum on issues & concern of the traders & transporters pertaining to GST and working style of tax administration across the Country.
Though the talks were held with a positive approach on both sides but it remains inconclusive and therefore the Bharat Vyapar Bandh call of CAIT and supported by AITWA will be continued. Khandelwal raised the issue of Gujrat tax officials outraging the modesty of the traders in Vapi of Gujrat and CBIC Chairman M Ajit Kumar informed that today morning he has called for a report of the unfortunate incident from DGGI, Surat and assured that action will be taken against officers found guilty. He also said that the mandate of the Government is very express and clear that no harassment or victimisation of traders will be tolerated.
Both the Government officials and CAIT delegation expressed unanimity that those who are flouting the law and indulge into generation of fake invoices should not be spared and strict action as per the law should be taken against them. They are the devils for the honest traders- said CAIT.
The CAIT delegation said that unfortunately since the tax evaders are not under the books of the Government, the brunt have to be faced by the traders who are registered under GST and conducting business by fair practices. These people do not get refunds in time, they are subject to heavy load of compliance and yet facing harassment in terms of denying input credit, furnishing so much data, facing administrative hurdles and various other roadblocks. Irrational tax slabs also contribute to their woes particularly in cases where tax rate of raw material is high and tax rate of finished product is low and therefore they always pay excess tax and their capital is blocked. Issues like problems in E Way Bills were also highlighted during the discussion.
Finance Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey. CBIC Chairman M Ajit Kumar and CBDT Chairman P C Mody said that it is not the intention of the Government to bring hassles particularly for the trading community. The Government values the contribution of traders in economy. However, steep rise in cases of forged invoices siphoning thousands of crores of revenue is the major worry for the Government. In other way, such unscrupulous persons are making trade of rest of the traders non-competitive and a cheating with the nation. The Government has firmly made up its mind not to spare such big fishes who are distorting the trade ecosystem and dodging the Rules and laws.
Khandelwal while appreciating the approach of the Government stressed the need to simplify the tax system to the extent that it encourages voluntary compliance. He firmly said that if GST is rationalised the traders across Country will cooperate with the Government for widening the tax base and generation of more substantial revenue to the Government. He also said that distinction must be drawn between error and evasion. He suggested that at every District level, a working group of tax officials and CAIT leaders may be constituted to monitor implementation of GST in its right perspective.
The next round of talks will be held in first week of March and till then both Government and CAIT will identify the areas of problem and their solution thereof keeping interest of traders and the Government in mind.