The proposal of the Punjab government to implement e-trip after amending the Punjab VAT Act has led to discontentment among local traders, who have alleged that the move will prove to be detrimental to trade and might bring it to a standstill in the region.
The traders, led by the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal (PPBM), have demanded the revocation of the proposal to implement e-trip.
"The PPBM had opposed this proposal earlier too through demonstrations and we oppose it now as well. The authorities in the excise and taxation department have no right to formulate such laws," said PPBM president Amrit Lal Jain. He said the department concerned had issued a public notice in this regard on August 10 last year, which was deferred following protests by the traders.
Stating that 90% traders across the state had no access to the electronic e-filing system, Jain alleged that the government was bent on destroying trade in the region. He said that in the year 2011-12, the traders paid the government VAT to the tune of Rs. 12.200 crore, which went up to Rs. 14.700 crore in 2012-13, while the target for the current financial year was Rs. 17.800 crore.
"If e-trip is implemented, the traders would have to send information through the Internet about the items being shipped from one place to another, provide information in this regard on the website of the department concerned, take a printout of the slip, which would have to be attached with the bill failing which the goods would be confiscated, and the traders would have to pay heavy fine to get them back," said Jain.
He said that considering the rampant power cuts, fulfilling the requirements of e-trip would prove to be a major challenge for the traders. Stating that this would hardly leave the traders with any time to concentrate on their businesses, Jain said that in 2012-13, the growth rate of Punjab had fallen down to 5.19% from 9.05% in 2007-08.
"By the end of this month, the state would be under a debt of Rs. 86,453 crore. The government apparently intends to claim all its debts and expenses from the traders," he said.
Jain said e-trip would not only take away traders' freedom to focus on their businesses, but would also destroy trade in the state. "We urge the government to revoke this law to prevent trade from destruction," he demanded.