Anti-tax agitation called off in Maharashtra

Mumbai, May 23 (IANS) Wholesalers, retailers and manufacturers across Maharashtra called off their month-long agitation against the local body tax (LBT) imposed by civic agencies following talks with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan here Thursday.

LBT is a imposed on all goods traded and services offered in the jurisdiction of a civic body.

At a meeting of trade associations (of wholesalers, retailers and manufacturers) along with government officials, ministers and elected representatives, Chavan detailed the state’s stand on the issue of the LBT.

“We have not set any deadline to implement LBT in Mumbai. We shall take necessary steps only after getting legislative sanction for it with the support of all concerned and after carrying out the required amendments to the law,” Chavan said.

He regretted that the LBT had not been implemented in Mumbai but the recent agitation, based on misunderstandings, resulted in immense hardships both to the trading community and public.

Chavan explained that demands to abolish octroi had been repeatedly made by several trade bodies in the past. Taking note of it, the state had decided to abolish octroi in phases from various municipalities way back in 1999.

In 2010, a similar decision was taken to abolish octroi from municipal corporations by effecting necessary legislation.

Now, barring Mumbai, LBT has been implemented by municipal corporations across the state and they have reported significant growth in revenues, Chavan said.

He said the state was prepared to consider the views of the trading community on LBT and a committee headed by the chief secretary was looking into the matter.

Besides, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai has also requisitioned the Tata Institute of Social Sciences to prepare a detailed report on LBT and its recommendations would also be considered, he added.

Following the assurances by the chief minister, all trade bodies officially withdrew their month-long agitation which was marked by processions, sit-ins, strike and shutdowns, across the state, including Mumbai.

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