‘Harassment under LBT assessment should be stopped’
   Date :07-Jun-2019

Business Bureau:
A State Level Executive Council meeting was recently conducted by Chamber of Associations of Maharashtra Industry and Trade (CAMIT). In the meeting, the names of State Level Executive Council members were announced. The members consisted of Mohan Gurnani, Chairman, Dipen Agrawal, President, Ashok Bafna, Executive President, Raju Rathi and Hemant Parekh as senior vice-presidents, Nikunj Turakhia, General Secretary, Ajit Kothari, Mitesh Mody and Mitesh Prajapati as general secretaries, Saurabh Shah, Treasurer, Jimmy Paul and Deven Dani as joint treasurers, Javerchand Gala, Chairman of Electrical and Electronic Trade and Industries Committee and Nirmal Bhambhani, Chairman of Retail Trade Committee. Twenty five vice-presidents representing all municipal corporations of Maharashtra were also inducted in the State Level Executive Council.
The Executive Council members discussed and decided the future course of action on contiguous issues faced by trade and industry. The members demanded that the harassment by Local Body Tax (LBT) officers in the name of assessment should be stopped immediately. This is happening at all the municipal corporations in the State. Members felt that LBT assessment has become a tool for harassment, extortion and corruption. There have been instances of local bodies bluntly refusing the legitimate refund of LBT and deposits kept during erstwhile Octroi and LBT regime. The members unanimously demanded complete closure of LBT Department on or before March 31, 2020.
The members also discussed difficulties they faced due to Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act and Market Cess. They said that the very motive of APMC Act has been defeated as most of the trade takes place outside market area. Therefore, members conducting business outside APMC are unnecessarily being harassed by authorities misinterpreting the provisions of APMC Act which is against the Government’s policy of ‘Ease of Doing Business’. Further, arbitrary levy of cess at multiple points on single commodity increases the cost for common man.
To take up this issue, a committee was formed named ‘No APMC Committee’ to take forward the State level movement for ‘No APMC - No CESS’. The members felt that there are no level playing field provided by the Government for retail trade to compete against malls and online trade. Poor road infrastructure, parking woes, store time restrictions etc., discourages customers to buy goods from retail outlets. The members demanded an immediate need to restrict MNCs and online portals to stop luring customers by indulging in unethical practice of predatory pricing so that traditional retail markets are not as to slaughtered. The members unanimously resolved to form a committee called ‘Save Small & Retail Trade’ to safeguard interest of members.
The members observed that only two states in India namely Kerala and Maharashtra are having regressive Mathadi Act of which Maharashtra has acknowledged in its new Retail Policy that Mathadi law is hampering growth of commerce and industry. The members unanimously demand complete abolishment of regressive Mathadi Act from Maharashtra.