Indian traders protest 'unfair' Nepal tax

Indian businessmen in Nepal protest against a tax imposed by the Nepal government from 2005, calling it unfair and misleading.
HT Image
HT Image
Updated on Mar 25, 2007 09:49 AM IST
Copy Link
IANS | By, Kathmandu

Indian businessmen in Nepal are protesting against a tax imposed by the Nepal government from 2005, calling it unfair and misleading.

Over 150 Indians signed a petition on Thursday, asking Nepal's finance ministry to revoke a tax that though intended for tourists, is being levied indiscriminately on Indians living in Nepal and running businesses in Kathmandu.

Indian businessman Manoj Singhal said the group will also petition Nepal's foreign ministry and culture, tourism and civil aviation ministry, telling them it was wrong to levy the tourism service fee meant for tourists on people residing in Nepal.

In January 2005, when King Gyanendra was finalising his plan to stage a coup and seize power with the help of the army, as a step to generate more funds for his ambitious plan, he persuaded the then government, appointed by him, to restructure the tourism service fee.

Earlier, tourists visiting Nepal had to pay the fee only when they took part in acknowledged tourist activities, like trekking, rafting, staying in hotels and dining at restaurants.

However, the financial ordinance issued on Jan 14, 2005 now makes it mandatory for all non-Nepalis flying out of Nepal's only international airport to pay the tax.

While making the revision, the state-run Nepal Tourism Board tried to justify it by saying it would facilitate tourists' stay in Nepal, ridding them of the trouble of having to pay the fee each time they availed of a tourism service.

However, in reality, the scheme was part of the drive by the royal government to raise funds for the Royal Nepalese Army to start a military operation against the Maoists and increase security operations like surveillance on politicians.

Around the same time, the government also increased value added tax to 13 percent. This means now any non-Nepali departing from Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport has to pay a tourism service fee of NRS 565, irrespective of whether they are tourists or not.

Singhal says it is doubly unfair to impose this tax on Indian businessmen resident in Nepal since they are already paying the government additional tax 25 per cent of their earnings which establishes the fact they are not tourists.

The petition quotes the Oxford dictionary definition of a tourist. A tourist is a person who makes a short stay, is not a resident and is not allowed to take part in business activities.

"We are registered with the Nepal government," says Singhal. "How can we then be regarded as tourists?"

There are at least 20,000 Indian families resident in Kathmandu alone. Thousands of Indians live in the outer districts, working or running businesses.

Some of them have been living in Nepal for over three decades, and still have to pay the tourism service fee.

The Indian embassy in Kathmandu is reported to have taken up the matter several times with the Nepal government but to no avail.

Though the new seven-party government of prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala that came to power after the fall of King Gyanendra's regime scrapped many of the decisions taken by the royal cabinet, it has not revoked any of the decisions affecting India and Indians adversely.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Scandinavian airline SAS filed for Chapter 11 to tackle its debt burden.

    Scandinavian Airlines files for bankruptcy in US as 1,000 pilots walk-out

    Scandinavian Airlines on Tuesday filed for bankruptcy in the United States, warning a walkout by 1,000 pilots a day earlier had put the future of the carrier at risk. The Stockholm-based SAS airline group said it had “voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 in the U.S., a legal process for financial restructuring conducted under U.S. federal court supervision.” Filing for Chapter 11 in New York puts civil litigation on hold while the business reorganizes its finances.

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak walk out of Downing Street.

    UK FM Rishi Sunak, health secy Sajid Javid quit in protest against PM Johnson

    UK cabinet ministers Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak on Tuesday resigned from their positions saying that have they lost confidence in Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Treasury chief Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid resigned within minutes of each other. Javid also posted the same on Twitter. Johnson has been hit by allegations he failed to come clean about a lawmaker who was appointed to a senior position despite claims of sexual misconduct.

  • File photo of Secretary of State Antony Blinken. (AFP)

    US' Antony Blinken to meet Chinese foreign minister at G-20, silent on Russia

    Secretary of State Antony Blinken will hold talks with his Chinese counterpart this week in Indonesia at a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of 20 bloc of the world's leading industrialised nations, the State Department said Tuesday.

  • A healthcare worker in protective gear collects a sample from a resident at a Covid-19 testing booth in Beijing, China, on Tuesday. (Bloomberg)

    City to be locked down after first cases of Omicron subvariant BA.5 reported in China

    The city of Xian in northwest China's Shaanxi province will be locked down from Wednesday, following a community outbreak of the highly transmissible Omicron BA.5, the first cases of the Covid subvariant in China, becoming the latest challenge to the country's zero-Covid policy. While in-house dining has been suspended, take-aways will be allowed, authorities said. “Special places such as prisons, welfare homes, and old-age institutions will be closed for management,” a state media report said.

  • The pandemic has fueled a shift in attitudes about work, with many workers seeking to maintain some of the flexibility they’ve experienced over the last two years.

    Dutch House approves to make work from home a legal right

    The Dutch parliament approved legislation to establish work-from-home as a legal right, making the Netherlands one of the first countries to grant remote working flexibility by law. The legislation was approved by the lower house of the bicameral parliament of the Netherlands on Tuesday. It still needs a nod from the Dutch senate before its final adoption.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, July 06, 2022