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Panel to decide new date for VAT
April 01, 2003 17:58 IST
The government said on Tuesday a panel of state finance ministers would meet on April 8 to decide on a new date for introducing value added tax across the country.
"The introduction of VAT in a patchwork form by individual states without corresponding action by others is not a workable proposition. It is clear, therefore, states would not be able to introduce VAT by April 1 in accordance with the commitment made by them," a finance ministry statement said.
The introduction of VAT, one of the country's most ambitious tax reform programmes, is aimed at boosting revenues for the cash-strapped government and bridging a yawning fiscal deficit. The announcement marks the second time the implementation of VAT has been delayed.
The implementation of the contentious value added tax system from Tuesday has been deferred due to differences within the states even as thenationwide bandh by the trading community entered the second day.
West Bengal Finance Minister and chairman of the Empowered Committee of the state finance ministers, Asim Dasgupta told the West Bengal Assembly on Monday that VAT could not be introduced from April 1 as the government had not received the final assent from the President in this regard.
The trading community was up in arms demanding clarity in certain definitions to which the Empowered Committee officials had said they would soon convene a meeting to discuss the matter.
Government wants the committee to come out with answers to these issues at its next meeting. Essential services including those in health and transport sectors were, however, kept out of the purview of the two-day bandh, called by Bharat Udyog Vyapar Mandal and Confederation of All India Traders.
When contacted, the traders associations said the bandh was for two days and "we have not made any change in our programme."
While most of the wholesale and retail markets in the capital remained closed, there were reports of a few establishments opening shutters.
Essential services including those in health and transport sector were, however, kept out of the purview of the two-day bandh, called by Bharat Udyog Vyapar Mandal and Confederation of All India Traders.
When contacted, traders' associations said the bandh was for two days and "we have not made any change in our programme."
All wholesale commodity and retail markets remained closed paralysing commercial activities as over hundreds of trade bodies all over the country participated in the 48-hour bandh.
Private buses too kept off the roads in most places in various states hitting mobility of the people even as the strike by a section of traders continued for the second day to protest the introduction of value added tax.
Petroleum dealers and a section of hoteliers also joined the stir across the country. Many petrol pumps too remained closed in the country.
Additional inputs: PTI
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