VAT in UP from today; Maya dismisses speculations as traders protest

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Lucknow, Jan 1 (UNI) A State-wide bandh call given by traders of UP today to protest the implementation of Value Added Tax (VAT) regime, had a mix response even as Chief Minister Mayawati scoffed at Opposition parties for politicising the issue.

''VAT is aimed to benefit the common people and would accelerate the pace of development in the state,'' she said here.

A divided traders community today organised a state-wide bandh which evoked a mixed response with shops and business establishments in major markets remanining closed. Traders in smaller markets across the state preferred to remain open.

The UP transport union, which had earlier given a call for indefinite strike, decided to withdraw from the agitation at the 11th hour, giving a major setback to the protesting traders.

Meanwhile, Ms Mayawati held the Opposition political parties responsible for instigating the traders against the VAT for their vested interest.

Addressing a press conference here, Ms Mayawati said with the implementation of the VAT, Uttar Pradesh has entered into the national economic mainstream and it will yield best results in the country with playing an important role in the development of industry and commerce.

She said her government accorded implementation of the VAT so that the commonman gets quality items of his daily need at minimum prices.

''With the introduction of the VAT and making the tax structure of UP at par with other states, illegal transportation of goods will be curbed and all, including the common public, farmers, industries and traders will be benefitted,'' she said and called upon the manufacturers and traders to pass on the benefit of the tax reduction to the consumers.

The Chief Minister said keeping in view of the needs of the commonman, tax rate on 91 items has been reduced in the VAT. While tax rate of 75 articles remained unchanged, only 20 articles are such on which rates have been increased but the option of reconsidering this rate is still open. With the new system, 15 rates of trade tax have been reduced to four.

Criticising the Opposition parties for raking the issue of the VAT through the traders, she said how could Congress and the BJP oppose the new tax regime, when their governments in Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have implemented it in the past.

The Chief Minister said commercial tax comprises about 58 per cent of the total revenue of the state and ten per cent growth rate has been fixed for the state under the 11th Five Year Plan for which heavy capital was required. This required implementation of a tax system, having less rates of taxes and capable of collection of more tax revenue.

Without taking any name, she said the previous government, while succumbing to the pressure of certain selfish elements, failed to implement the VAT which adversely affected industrialisation in the state, besides failing to curb tax evasion.

UP is the last state to implement the VAT, which was introduced in the country from April, 2005.

UNI NAB MB BDP AS1733

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