In sops to traders of Haryana, chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Sunday waived off VAT on all pulses and abolished the market fee on jaggery.
Noting that traders play a key role in the progress of any state, the CM also announced reduction in VAT on mustard oil cakes (Khal) from 5 per cent to 2 per cent.
He further said that the market fee on cotton would be charged at the rate of 1.6 per cent till 2015.
Addressing at the state-level Vyapar Mandal Sammelan at Hisar, which was organised under the chairmanship of former MP Naveen Jindal, Hooda also announced setting up of a coordination committee at district level which would comprise of representatives of district administration and businessmen.
The committee will act as bridge between the government and traders, he said.
On stray incidents where traders had received ransom threats, Hooda said that he has directed the police officials to take strict action against those found guilty. He also said that he has directed the director general of police to issue licenses of weapons to businessmen on priority basis.
The police have also been directed to pay special attention on the security of commercial areas in the state in view of the upcoming Assembly elections as anti-social elements may try to disturb the peace, he said.
The CM also announced to honour all those businessmen in the district who pay high taxes.
"Today, the state has congenial and secure atmosphere where businessmen can honestly carry out their trade. The state is making rapid progress and our traders are playing a key role and acting as a backbone," he said.
Referring to the erstwhile INLD-BJP government (1999-2005), he said: "A reign of terror prevailed earlier and traders used to be exploited and faced harassment. We created a conducive environment so that trade flourishes in Haryana.
Today, be it per capita income, planned budget, resources mobilisation, Haryana is No 1 in all spheres and in this our trader community is playing a key role".
"You go to any corner in the world, Haryana has carved out a name for itself. Even in the ongoing Commonwealth Games being held in Glasgow, our sportspersons have brought laurels for the state and the country winning 20 medals".
Hitting out at main opposition INLD, which released its poll manifesto yesterday and announced sops to various sections, Hooda said, "they only make hollow promises, but fail to fulfill these. The Congress party made promises and fulfilled all of these, even exceeding than the promises which were made".
Asserting that the Congress had always worked for the welfare of poor and downtrodden, Hooda said, "it is my open challenge to them (INLD). Let them show me a even single inch of land which they have alloted to any poor family. They just make promises, but their deceit cannot work. People are not going to fall in their trap again".
He admitted that Congress had performed far below expectations in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
"It is true that in the previous Lok Sabha polls, we did not perform well. But an atmosphere was created in entire country as if one person (Narendra Modi) had a magic wand in his hand and he would solve all problems. But people have realised that only tall promises were made to befool them.
"In recent Uttrakhand bypolls, all three seats were won by the Congress, which shows growing anger against the BJP.
Today, this is my 47th public meeting in past 45 days. I know the pulse of people and the way we are getting support from a cross section of people, I can say with authority that Congress will form government for the third time in a row." Earlier, Haryana minister Savitri Jindal said "a nation
makes progress when the trade flourishes.".
Savitri, mother of Naveen Jindal and wife of late industrialist O P Jindal, said that her husband often used to say that if trade flourishes, it will help generate employment and thus a nation can make rapid progress.
"I entered the politics (in 2005) to realise his dreams and I am working hard for this," the Hisar MLA said.
Speaking on the occasion, Naveen Jindal, a former MP from Kurukshetra, raised some demands before the chief minister pertaining to the traders community.
These included demand of the Marble Association which wants reduction in the sales tax from 13 per cent to 5 per cent, and demand of the Kiryana Stores Association which wants extension in the date for making licences under the Food Safety Act from August 4 to December 31, 2014.