Special Correspondent

KOCHI: The State budget presented on Friday by Finance Minister Thomas Isaac has evoked positive as well as negative reactions from merchants. Most of the suggestions have received supporting and opposing opinions. The Ernakulam Merchants Union president Leo Paul has said that the State budget does not provide any scheme to support the traders.

The State could have given up the additional revenue from the recent increase in diesel and petrol prices in a bid to control prices and thus improve the trade sector. The Kerala Merchants Union welcomed the proposals such as extension provided to one-time settlement of KGST, modernisation of checkposts, online registration for sales tax registration and reduction in stamp duty rates.

But the three-year extension to settle cases pertaining to VAT, the scheme to provide awards to sales tax officials on the basis of tax collection and the increase in penalty on defaulters would lead to official harassment, according to V.M.Siddique, general secretary of the KMU.