Holding out that introduction of VAT Form 32-33 for traders would force wholesale chemists to put in a lot of additional paper work in purchase and sale of medicines, members of the All-India Chemists and Distributors Federation (AICDF) here have threatened to proceed on strike in case the Delhi Government does not immediately withdraw the proposal.

AICDF president Kailash Gupta said: “During the last two years approximately 25 per cent wholesale chemists have closed down their business due to anti-trader policies of Delhi Government.” He said the chemists have time and again appealed to the Delhi Government to make it easier for traders to carry on business in the Capital but their appeals have not yielded any positive results. “This current move then has forced the chemists association to take the decision that in case the Delhi Government’s VAT Form 32-33 is not withdrawn we will proceed on strike or will close our business.”

The Federation in its press statement issued on Sunday noted that the Government’s latest order is impractical and aimed at harassing small traders.

“Increased electricity/water tariff and the implementation of new VAT laws in Delhi has made it hard for small traders to continue operating profitably in the market. Earlier Form 2A-2B was introduced and now form VAT 32-33 has been brought in, which is clearly an anti-trader initiative,” noted the release issued by the Federation.

Listing out the paper work that a chemist has to do before he can start his business, Mr. Gupta said: “A chemist has to procure a drug licence and register with VAT department before starting his business. It is also mandatory that while issuing a bill, the chemist should put in the name of medicine, batch number and expiry of medicine, cost of medicine, VAT number and drug licence number on it. This is a mandatory procedure for every transaction. Now the Delhi Government under notification has further introduced the Form 32-33 for traders in Delhi. The chemists are already burdened under paper work and these new norms will further increase it and in order to abide by the norms we will need additional staff that has to be employed adding to our expenditure.”

What has further aggrieved the chemists is the fact that the Delhi Government has already fixed a margin of 16 per cent for the traders.

“The Delhi Government has to take into account that 12-15 per cent drugs we stock are rendered useless because of expiry and breakage each month. Besides, the stiff competition in the market has forced us to pass on 10-15 per cent discount to customers which leaves us with a small margin of profit. Any further cut into this margin will render the business unviable for us,” added the note issued by the Federation.