The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) called for a Bharat Bandh on February 26 to protest against the rise in fuel prices, the E-Way Bill and the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Close to 40,000 trade associations have joined in for the protest on Friday. The All India Transporters Welfare Association (AITWA) has extended their support to the Bharat Bandh.
Here's a look at why the associations have called for a halt to trade:
What are the issues with GST and E-Way Bill?
CAIT has asked the central government to stop “tax terrorism” and is demanding a simpler process to file GST returns. In a tweet on Friday, CAIT said, "8 crore Traders @CAITIndia, 1 crore transporters @aitwa and lacs of tax professionals participating in #BharatBandh today as a mark of protest against distorted #GST”.
Earlier, Praveen Khandelwal, CAIT's secretary-general, had said that almost 950 amendments have been made so far to the GST rules in the past four years. "But issues related to glitches in the GST portal and continuous increase in compliance burden are the major lacunae in the tax regime," he said.
The apex traders' body alleges that the GST regime has given rise to "tax terrorism" in India by giving "arbitrary and unlimited powers to the government officials". It added the GST is neither "good", nor "simple", contradicting the government's stand that GST can be seen as a "Good and Simple Tax".
CAIT added that the right tax regime considers the welfare of the traders and not harass them with complexities.
On the other hand, AITWA has demanded scrapping of the "regressive" E-Way Bill, which it says mandates impractical compliances from transporters.
"The consignor has to fill their goods’ details online in part A and the transporter has to update the vehicle number in part B. The transporters have to cover a total of 200 km per day, as per pin codes calculated at the shortest distance. This is practically not possible due to many factors such as Sunday/holiday, accident, part load consolidation, hub and spoke, jams, and drivers’ personal issues among others," AITWA said.
It alleges that transporters are being made scapegoats by tax officials.