Saturday, December 20, 2014

LBT is like - Crushed Sugarcane without Juice

Thoughts by +Kishor Lulla 

It is true that one cannot break the law, irrespective of his or her position or influence, and if it is broken, one should be held responsible for it, and for that purpose, one could be punished in connection with severity of the crime, but if the law itself is made against the human rights and responsibility, then ?.The endeavor of the government to collect the revenue through the legal arrangements was started by the Roman empire and had named it as ‘Octroi’ for the first time, which was later adopted by the world, and we too, followed it ! 

This arrangement was continued by the Local Body, till last to last year. 
But two years back, the State decided to phase out Octroi and phase in Local Body Tax, which was not happy ending of the problems. In 1987, a Committee under Maharashtra’s former Chief  Secretary, Shri P.D. Kasbekar had recommended a Local Body tax, in place of Octroi. After various committee meetings and about several years of deliberating, Maharashtra has finally decided to implement LBT in some Corporations phase wise. Why this new law was made forceful this much late ?The reason, it was not suitable !

Octroi is a one time tax imposed on entry of all goods, but it has some difficulties too. Under LBT, traders and manufacturers are required to keep their monthly record. There are other taxes existing like Excise Service Tax, VAT etc. including LBT, and now GST has also started peeping in. Currently, the protest against Local Body Tax has increased in a very severe manner.This reflection is due to feeling of harassment to the traders.

Over the last decade, all States except Maharashtra have replaced octroi by other taxes, e.g. Tamil Nadu, it fixed flat 2 % rate, and it also restored it. Gujarat abolished octroi and instead hiked VAT rates by 1 percent. The octroi was simple in procedure to be followed, where as in LBT, though it is an alternative to octroi, the heavy compliance is  amounting to complication, therefore, LBT too, is lacking the cent percent.


As there is no balance in the economical and social alternatives, the public cannot do anything against it, thus, before the empowerment, if people can not come out of it, and if it is a sheer harassment whether would not be any wonder that people would commit suicide, the way farmers of our State have committed, if there is no room for a solution against LBT, from which new groups will be born, which will create a moral challenge against the government. 
The opinion of learned experts in the subject of Trade Tax should be considered at the time of changing the policy of tax payment in our democratic India, f.e. CREDAI Chairman, Mr.Lalit Kumar Jain said by opposing the government to impose Local Body Tax in lieu of octroi, he said: new levy will result in rise of  corruption and be detrimental  to the business, as well as consumers.

All we are asking for a simplified, single point taxation, which will be easier, because it will lead to nothing, except the corruption tendency in the assessment and record keeping procedure levied by LBT procedure. We know that new government is also keen on replacing the contentions of LBT and Octroi with  a new policy, which should not be very difficult like earlier time. 

Policies should not be changed with consideration of political atmosphere and the benefits in future. It should be framed for society for balance of convenience of administration and in the interest of justice.

Our country does not want only polished roads on which beautiful imported cars would rush at its top speed, we rather want our poor people also get benefit to use the same roads, without meeting the accident for a trivial reason, hence, policy must be adopted which has betterment of government, traders and public also !