The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Wednesday advised Punjab local bodies minister Anil Joshi not to play politics on the issue of input tax credit (ITC) and urged state BJP president Kamal Sharma to direct Joshi not to flout principles of ‘coalition dharma’ as well as collective responsibility of the state cabinet.
In a statement here, SAD general secretary and party core committee member Maheshinder Singh Grewal said it was shocking as well as unacceptable that Joshi had issued ultimatums, threatening that he would lead an agitation in case an amendment made in the VAT (value-added tax) Act was not revoked immediately.
Grewal said the fundamental idea behind amending the VAT Act earlier was to control tax evasion. “There was feedback that against the total of 2.49 lakh registered traders, 1,063 were paying 85% of the total tax. Also, only 3,000 dealers were paying 90% of the tax collected by the state. As many as 1.44 lakh dealers did not pay any tax,” he added.
“The most surprising fact is that Joshi participated in the cabinet meeting held in October 2013 in which it was decided to amend Section 13(1) of the VAT Act which provided that ITC would not be available unless such goods were sold or used in the manufacture or processing of goods meant for sale in the state,” Grewal said, urging Punjab BJP president Kamal Sharma to tell the party’s ministers that they should not try to project that they are not part of the collective decision-making process.
Speaking on the issue of ITC, the SAD leader said the SAD-BJP government believed in taking feedback from the people and reacting on it. “On the basis of feedback given to deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal by various trader groups, it was decided to roll back ITC on stocks,” he said, adding that former minister and senior BJP leader Manoranjan Kalia had also made a plea in this regard to the deputy CM.