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Readers from Pune express their opinion on Local Body Tax

Thursday, 12 June 2014 - 7:33am IST | Place: Pune | Agency: dna

Traders who oppose Local Body Tax feel that the earlier taxing system of Octroi was better. dna asks readers about their opinion on the vexed issue
  • noLBT File Photo dna

LBT procedures are complicated...

The government has started Local Body Tax (LBT) and given wide powers to LBT cell, officers for search and seizure of goods with traders, which can be used on a fallacious ground and doubt. It will create harassment for traders. LBT is a very complicated system making traders maintain records and paper work. Traders say that among the 2 evils of LBT and Octroi, the latter is a lesser evil. In fact traders are demanding that they don’t want LBT and octroi system of taxing. They suggest that the government should simplify the procedure to avoid unnecessary harassment from officers for paperwork. If there 2 or 3 products that are used for manufacturing another item, for LBT the trader has to isolate and maintain count of all the products, which is a lengthy process. In short the provision of imposing LBT is very complicated.
—SK Jain, Advocate 

Don’t want either LBT or Octroi...
In our recent meeting with the chief minister of Maharashtra, they asked whether they should start Octroi again and remove LBT. Our demand is that both LBT and Octroi shouldn’t exist. In a busy life of a trader, LBT work process becomes cumbersome, time consuming and complicated to understand. The city of Pune has shown a highest collection of LBT in the state and the CM has also appreciated it. Our demand is that the taxing system should be simplified by including the LBT tax within the VAT as an additional surcharge, so we traders can finish the procedure in one go. For last 30 years we had been fighting with the government to remove Octroi, so we don’t want it back. 
Popatlal Oswal, President, Federation of Traders Association of Pune (FTAP)

No mechanism to counter corruption
Octroi taxing system is a more corrupt system that LBT. The government had proposed to remove Octroi and replace it with Value Added Tax (VAT). The practice of LBT or Octroi system isn’t seen in India and abroad, it is used solely by Maharashtra govt. I agree that the LBT is an income for the government meant for the expenditure on development purpose. The government expenditure is always over priced and does not match the market price. If the government removes corruption from their system, I don’t think they will need to tax the citizens heavily. 
—Suryakant Pathak, MD, Grahak Peth 

They should compromise...
We opposed Octroi in the first place because at every check-naka, the vehicle was stopped and the authorities mentally harassed the people by asking them to produce documents they don’t require. I feel that both the government and the FTAP should compromise a little and come to a common solution. The Government should be more open about how the money collected will be used, as people would want it for public good. Due to corruption the money collected does not go to good causes. We had suggested to the govt to charge the vehicles, who have national permit, Rs30,000 per annum so that it could be settled for once. It was ignored.
—Krishna More, Vice President, Poona District Motor Goods Transport Association

Bringing Octroi back is of no use
One of the issues with LBT is the book keeping effort and cost that increases. One has to keep all monthly receipts and then submit the return when the year ends, this becomes a major worry for small as well as big traders. This was not the case when Octroi was levied since it only needed the bill to be presented at the check point which ended the issue there itself. Government’s suggestion of bringing Octroi back is of no use. They should implement what the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) has done and introduce the surcharge on VAT which will go directly to the state governments. If the local corporations have issues with money coming from state, then this is a trust issue which they should solve among themselves. 
—Keshav Shingre, accountant, Chitale Bandhu

Govt doesnt know what it wants...
I am a local trader, hence Octroi is not a big issue for someone who gets his goods from local markets and dealers. For people who get them from out of state, it becomes an issue and the state government should avoid going back to Octroi implementation. Every 3 months the authorities come to check the receipts and they have no idea what documents they want. Not only do the traders have to keep even the smallest of receipts, they also have to answer these authorities and show the documents they want. 
—Dilip Jain, proprietor, Bhavesh traders

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