Staff Reporter

KOCHI: Merchants will oppose the tax proposals that violate the basic principles of VAT, said K. Venkatesh Pai, general secretary of the Ernakulam Merchants Union. He welcomed the proposal to introduce lottery scheme to encourage billing in transaction, but cautioned against any extra burden on merchants.

The tax exemption offered to silk saris should not be a temporary measure, he said. In the case of gold, the Government should have continued to impose the 1 per cent tax while taking steps to curb tax evasion.

He welcomed the move for allocating the extra amount collected through VAT for merchants' welfare fund, but doubted whether the target set by the Government would be realistic. He also hailed the move to form district-level bodies to sort out merchants' problems.

Mr.Pai opposed the proposal to collect tax for iron and steel items by bringing them under the purview of the Kerala entry tax rules. He urged the Government to withdraw the move to fix tax collection targets under various tax authority offices.

Cochin Chamber of Commerce & Industry president N. Sreekumar welcomed the exemption granted to the planters other than companies from agricultural tax. The annual cess to be introduced in rubber plantation needs to be addressed carefully.