The apex traders' body CAIT on Friday claimed that the two-week long strike by Maharashtra traders against imposition of Local Body Tax (LBT) has led to an estimated business loss of over Rs. 75,000 crore and asked the Mumbai government to have an open discussion on the issue.
"The estimated business loss has been more than Rs. 75,000 crore causing a revenue loss of about Rs. 9,000 crore to the state government due to the strike," the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said.
Wholesale and retail traders from Mumbai, Thane and Nagpur have been on an indefinite strike against LBT.
"The indefinite strike called by Maharashtra traders against LBT will further worsen the situation in the state. Therefore, we challenge the state government to join in an open debate on any public platform on the so called advantages of the new tax. Let the people of the state and the country know the real truth behind imposition of LBT," CAIT said.
LBT is an account-based cess collection and will be charged for every raw-material used or imported into the city limits by all businesses, traders and manufacturers.
The Maharashtra government will implement LBT to replace the traditional octroi in its cities. In Mumbai, which is the only city that charges octroi at 4%, LBT will come into effect from October, while other cities in the state have already gone the LBT way.
The Confederation said LBT suffers from various "legal infirmities, ambiguities, confusions, disparities and anomalie".
While demanding withdrawal of LBT, the CAIT President B C Bhartia termed it as a tax which runs counter to the move of the central government to implement a unified indirect taxation regime in the country.
"The basic principles of proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) for which Maharashtra government has already agreed, have been flouted even when the GST is not yet implemented.
This amply shows that the state government is inclined to play with the taxation system," he said.
"The adamant attitude adopted by the state government needs to be condemned in strong words and has thwarted the principles of democratic governance," CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said.