LBT Govt issues notification on relaxation of norms; minimum limit increased,penalty down.
With the state government issuing a notification on changes in the draft rules of local body tax (LBT),after fulfilling most of the demands of protesting traders,Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) are gearing up to initiate action against the traders not registering under LBT by April 30.
The traders had threatened to go on an indefinite strike if no notification was issued by state government by May 7 on the announcement made in the Legislative Assembly to relax the rules for LBT. Now,the notification has been issued and the traders should cooperate with the civic body as most of their demands have been accepted, Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Pathak said at a press conference.
Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi,too,appealed to traders to register for LBT before April 30,while stating that LBT offices would remain open on April 27,28.
Pathak said the minimum limit for traders to register under LBT had been increased from business of Rs 1 lakh to that of Rs 3 lakh,while the penalty on defaulters had been reduced to five times of LBT from the earlier 10 times.
Pardeshi said the state government had also allowed the traders to keep a computerised soft copy of their records,which was one of their main demands. However,the traders have also been told to keep the manual record at hand for inspection purpose, said the PCMC chief.
Pardeshi said the state government had also given discretionary power to the commissioner regarding the processing of industrial items.
Pathak said he was hopeful that more traders would come up for registration with the civic body,adding that the copy of notification had been forwarded to the traders association. The last date for registration is April 30 and the civic administration will have to initiate action on those failing to register themselves, he added.
PMC Joint Municipal Commissioner Vilas Kanade said the civic administration had completed 70 per cent of the survey to identify traders operating in the city and the entire data would be ready by the end of this month.
In the ongoing door-to-door survey,the administration has identified around 33,000 traders who have not yet registered under LBT. The PMC will initiate action against the traders doing business without LBT registration. The survey data would be used for such action, he added.
There is a good response from traders to register themselves under LBT, Kanade said,adding that the transport and courier companies operating within the civic jurisdiction too had asked to register under LBT and maintain all records of transportation of goods.
PMC and PCMC have started implementation of LBT in place of octroi from April 1,as directed by the government. This led to protest from traders as they launched an indefinite strike from April 1,but withdrew it after the assurance of the chief minister to dilute the LBT rules. The traders had threatened to go on an indefinite strike from May 8 if the state government failed to issue a notification on changes made in the LBT rules.