With nearly a week left for the interim Budget, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Wednesday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to take note of "some crucial issues of trading community".
CAIT, in the letter that consists 15 pointers summarising their issues, has requested the PM to "grant a package in order to ensure ease of doing business and to provide better business opportunities for small traders."
The issues highlighted are related to the tax regime, e-commerce policy among others.
The body has urged the centre that the traders registered under GST be given an Accidental Insurance of Rs 10 lakhs, as followed by Uttar Pradesh.
The government, according to a PTI report published on January 11, is already considering an insurance scheme for lakhs of GST-registered small and medium scale traders with a view to address certain concerns of this segment. The scheme may provide accidental insurance cover on the lines of Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) for the traders at an affordable premium.
In other demands, CAIT has requested for a pension scheme for the traders and urged that Mandi Tax all over the country and Toll Tax in Jammu should be abolished so that the tax is more simplified.
The traders' representative also requested that the 18 percent slab under the regime should be abolished and the 28 percent tax slab should be restricted only to most luxurious items.
"Commodities like Auto Parts, Cement etc. should be taken out from 28% tax slab and may be placed under 12% tax slab. It is also urged to re-visit items placed under different tax slabs and items used as raw material and daily use items of poor section should be placed under 5% tax slab," CAIT wrote in the letter.
As the government tightened the norms for e-commerce companies in its recent notification, CAIT urged that it should be implemented immediately and a regulatory authority should be formed in order to monitor the policy.
A National Trade Policy for Retail Trade be formulated and a separate Ministry for Internal Trade should also be constituted, said CAIT.
It brought to light that only five percent of the small business are able to apply for loans and the remaining are dependent on private moneylenders, etc. to fulfill their needs. It urged for a concessional rate of interest, in the interest of the small traders to obtain loans from banks and financial institutions.
"We also request that direct lending by banks under MUDRA scheme should be disband and Non Banking Finance Companies, Micro Finance Institutions and private money lenders duly registered should be roped in to lend the money to beneficiaries and the banks should lend money at concessional rate of interest to these institutions. On the pattern of SEBI a separate Authority should be created for regulating MUDRA scheme," it added.
With regards to digital payments, it said that the traders should be free from bank charges to boost the digital payment motive in India. It highlighted that the banks charge between one and two percent for such transactions discourages traders.
Among the other points highlighted were encouraging more women to become entrepreneurs, bringing a Model Tenancy Act, setting up a Trade Promotion Council which can act as a bridge between traders and the Government.