Increasing its bid to woo Delhi’s trader community, the Aam Aadmi Party on Monday advocated an end to “inspector raj and raids on businessmen” to boost the trade environment in Delhi. Senior leaders of the party cited figures of the last quarter of the financial year 2013-14 — a period which coincided with the AAP being in government—as the highest collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue, despite “zero raids being carried out”.
“The AAP has consistently maintained that majority of traders want to do their business with honesty. Raids on them by different departments are aimed at harassing them and, in fact, extracting money from them. When the AAP government was formed in Delhi, raids were completely stopped. Consider these facts for the last quarter of the financial year 2013-14 when the AAP was in office. VAT revenue generated for this period was Rs 5,666 crore, whereas the collection for the same period in the previous year (2012-13) was only Rs 4,669 crore. It is clear that the decision of the AAP government to disallow even a single raid on traders resulted in a 21 per cent increase in VAT revenue collections for the Delhi government,” senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia said.
Sisodia said that after the fall of the AAP government in 49 days, “raids” resumed. As a result, he suggested, tax revenue came down.
“Immediately after the fall of the AAP government, there was a sudden spurt in raids conducted by the Delhi administration. At least 200 raids are being conducted every month and these are proving to be counter-productive. The VAT revenue collections for the first quarter of the current financial year are merely Rs 3,808 crore. This means tax collections fell by one-third (33 per cent reduction),” he said.
Sisodia said that if voted back to power, the AAP would reduce VAT and abolish “inspector raj”.
“Reduction in VAT rates will lead to increase in trade volume, margins and profitability. This will be a win-win situation for both consumers and traders. Abolition of inspector raj will be the priority of the AAP and an important element of the AAP vision for traders of Delhi,” a party statement said.
Following a fund-collection lunch organised by the traders wing in Delhi on Sunday – where over 50 lakh was collected according to the party – senior leader Pankaj Gupta said they will encourage such “transparent” revenue collection methods even at the Vidhan Sabha level.