The Rajasthan government has, for now, withdrawn the new traders’ licence introduced by the two Jaipur municipal corporations following protests by the traders’ association that had called for a market shutdown in the city on September 11.
Urban Development and Housing Minister Shanti Dhariwal said, “We have stopped the new trade licence from being implemented for the moment. Nagar Nigam Heritage and Nagar Nigam Greater have been asked to suspend any proceedings.”
The shutdown now stands cancelled.
Jaipur Nagar Nigams, Greater and Heritage, had issued a government order regarding the new trade licence which mentioned additional taxes to be paid by all the traders — from street vendors to shopkeepers — triggering a protest by the traders’ association. The order was issued by Nagar Nigam Greater on January 7, 2021, and by Nagar Nigam Heritage on June 3, 2021. The tax slabs are different for different business owners.
Jaipur Vyapar Mandal president Subhash Goyal said: “How could the business owners bear the burden of additional taxes after their businesses have been severely affected by the Covid pandemic?”
Talking about the time when the licence was initially issued, Goyal said, “We had been to the Mayor three times and she reassured us that it won’t be imposed. Then, we recently received a notice that said ‘either get the new licence or the businesses would have to shut down’. That is when we started protesting and decided to shut all businesses on September 11.”
On September 10, Director of Self Government Department Deepak Nandi issued an order stating: “Many trade associations have submitted reports against the new trade licence. Keeping these complaints and Covid-19 in mind, it has been decided that the licence should be postponed and implemented sometime in the future.”
The statement asks the two Nagar Nigams to submit a detailed report and records regarding the same.
Goyal added that the traders’ association has cancelled its September 11 protest.
Nagar Nigam Greater Mayor Sheel Dhabhai said, “The new licence stands withdrawn for the moment because of the protests. The government will have a meeting with the businessmen and the members of the traders’ association and decide on a further course of action.”
The burden of the taxes mentioned in the licence is a threat to small business owners of the city.
Om Prakash Saini, a florist, who said he would have to pay Rs 12,000 a year if the new licence was implemented said, “They want to charge small businesses with these taxes, we already earn minimal, why doesn’t the government charge these taxes from big businesses? Nearly 50 per cent of the sales have already decreased owing to Covid and we have to pay rent for this stall. This is very unfair.”
Likewise, Gautam Sharma, an ice-cream shop owner, said he would end up paying Rs 50,000 annually if the new licence comes into effect. “This is a seasonal business. We have to pay GST, food licence fee and fee under the Shop Act. Now they want to impose a trade fee too. How many taxes would we pay?”