Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh on Tuesday accused the Union Government of ignoring the interests of the trading community despite their significant contribution to the national exchequer.

He was addressing protesters at a sit-in demonstration organised by the traders’ cell of the party at Jantar Mantar against the alleged discriminating policies of the Centre against the traders.

Flanked by a large number of Central party leaders, Mr. Singh said the sit-in was a symbolic protest to highlight the issue and declared that the party would launch a nationwide agitation to show how the traders have been ignored by the UPA Government.

Mr. Singh charged that despite the traders being regularly targeted by anti-social elements for ransom and loot, the Government had failed to provide any protection to them. “The Government has also not taken any lesson from disparities in the Value Added Tax taxation system and it is bent upon enforcing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from April 2010 though much work has to be done to give it a formal shape,’’ he added.

The senior BJP leader regretted that even traders have not been consulted on GST so far.

BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley lauded the role of traders in building the national economy and said after agriculture, retail trade provided the maximum employment in the country. Stating that self-employment system in India was most significant and the largest contributor to the national economy, he said it was the link between the producer and the consumer and therefore needed to be strengthened.

Lamenting that the Government was framing policies that were generally anti-internal trade, Mr. Jaitley complimented the traders for protecting the country from the recent global recession that had severely impacted the world.

Senior party leader Murli Manohar Joshi demanded a blanket ban on entry of domestic corporate houses and multinationals into retail trade. He said retail trade should remain the sole domain of small retailers who are the backbone of the economy. “Any move to destabilise internal trade would be strongly opposed by the BJP,” he declared.

Earlier, while addressing the traders, Delhi BJP treasurer Praveen Khandelwal demanded the Government to constitute a “Review Commission” comprising officials and trade leaders to review several acts, laws and rules governing trade as most of them were decades old and have lost their significance in the present scenario.

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