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Traders will not be harassed: Chandy

By Our Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, APRIL 1. The Chief Minister today assured leaders of the Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithy (KVVES) that the Government would not put any trader to difficulties on account of VAT. The Government is ready for further talks with them at any time they choose. The Government will immediately form a committee to study whether VAT will inconvenience the traders. The traders' representatives too will be included in this committee, he said.

Mr. Purushothaman said the Government was not for a confrontation with the traders. But, if they inconvenience the public unnecessarily, the Government will have to take tough steps. Kerala has exempted traders with annual turnover of up to Rs. 10 lakhs from the purview of VAT. This gesture became a model for the other States that introduced the new system from today. "We have also decided that traders with annual turnover between Rs. 10 lakhs and Rs. 50 lakhs need pay only half per cent of their turnover as VAT. The original rate was one per cent," he said.

Listing some of the other trader-friendly gestures, he said the turnover limit for VAT registration had been enhanced from Rs. 2 lakhs to 5 lakhs. And the tax on medicines will be levied only at the first point of sale on the basis of the maximum retail price.

He appealed to the traders to cooperate with the new tax system. Only those intent on tax evasion can have any complaint about VAT. The prices of all commodities will come down once the system falls into place. The common man is sure to benefit from it, he added.

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