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‘I am a baniya who understands business’

Our Bureau Agencies New Delhi | Updated on December 29, 2014 Published on December 29, 2014

AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal   -  Business Line

Kejriwal woos Delhi traders with promise of ‘lowest’ VAT rates, end of ‘raid racket’

Describing himself as a baniya who understands business, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal on Monday sought to woo the traders community here 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 here, the former Delhi CM told the trading community, traditionally a support base of the BJP, that his party will make the Capital a trading hub. It also promised, if voted to power, to make VAT rates in Delhi “the lowest”.

He described himself as a trader, and said he understood the dhandha (profession).

His party is “business-friendly’ and will work to simplify value added tax (VAT), single-window clearances and revive wholesale trade, he added.

Unveiling the AAP’s vision for the trading community here ahead of Assembly elections reportedly slated for February, Kejriwal said he will make the city a sales and distribution hub if he gets the mandate.

“The AAP is committed to establishing Delhi as India’s biggest and greatest services hub and trading zone,” he said, adding that the first step is to recognise existing problems. “Routine VAT raids will be shut down. Only in cases of unprecedented corruption and other exceptional situations, and approved by the highest officials, will such raids be conducted,” the party said in a release.

Kejriwal said the 30-page VAT form will be made into a single page one and all transactions will be online.

“Stakeholder participation of traders in any formation of Delhi trade policy will be made mandatory,” he assured traders.

“We want you to do your business with full honesty and pay taxes,” he said. “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.

Kejriwal 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,” he claimed.

Single-window clearance

He also assured to restructure the tax regime in Delhi 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 easy tax filing and assessment with well-defined and streamlined procedures.

“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.

Kejriwal also mooted the concept of using one portion of VAT from every locality and market for the maintenance and upgrading of that market to foster future business and trade.

Published on December 29, 2014
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