NEW DELHI: With the next GST Council meeting barely three weeks away, hectic parleys are underway between RSS affiliates and the government to announce major concessions for small traders who could swing the fortunes of the ruling party in the crucial Gujarat Assembly elections.
According to sources, various issues vexing small businessmen are likely to be taken up when the GST Council meets in Guwahati on November 9-10. The Council is likely to enhance the threshold of the composition scheme for traders to Rs 3 crore turnover from Rs 1.5 crore at present. Under the composition scheme, businesses with annual turnover below the prescribed limit can pay taxes at a minimum rate.
It may also allow interstate sales under the composition scheme to keep traders with turnover of up to Rs 3 crore out of the GST ambit.
“Now, we have a situation wherein a trader or a small manufacturer based out of Morena in Madhya Pradesh cannot sell his goods in neighbouring Dholpur in Rajasthan — just a few km away — if he seeks to avail exemption under GST,” said Om Prakash Mittal, who leads Laghu Udyog Bharati, an RSS affiliate working among small industries.
Mittal explained that traders and small manufacturers in Churu in Rajasthan are also faced with the problem of not being able to sell to neighbouring Sirsa in Haryana under the current norms to avail exemptions. “I’m confident that the government will address the issue of allowing interstate sales under the composition scheme, which will be a major relief.”
Senior RSS functionaries have also flagged the issue of treating small manufacturers on a par with large companies. “For example, Godrej manufactures locks. There are hundreds of small manufacturers in Aligarh who also make locks. Godrej uses fresh iron, while small manufacturers in Aligarh make locks out of scraps. The GST tax both at the rate of 28 per cent, which is unfair. So, we’ve asked the government to give small traders and manufacturers a 25 per cent rebate in goods manufactured by them, which are also made by large-scale companies. Thus, small manufacturers will have a 21 per cent tax burden against 28 per cent for large firms and likewise for other tax slabs,” Mittal told Express.
It is learnt that the RSS functionaries have also met BJP vice-president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and Union ministers Arun Jaitely and Piyush Goyal to press for tax benefits for indigenous small traders and manufacturers.
Gujarat doles out sops ahead of Assembly polls
Gujarat has announced sops for teachers and municipal employees ahead of the year-end Assembly elections. While 7,000 “fixed-pay” teachers of government-aided secondary and higher secondary schools will get a significant hike in salaries, 15,000 employees of 105 municipalities will be paid under provisions of the Seventh Pay Commission. The income level for eligibility to a free medical treatment scheme has been raised from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh. The Centre recently drew flak after the EC delayed announcement of Gujarat election dates while putting out the poll schedule for Himachal.