Other States

Are ‘taxes’ by armed groups legal, Nagaland government asked

Traders and business bodies in Nagaland have asked the State government to clarify if it feels the collection of ‘taxes’ by armed groups is legal.

The business community said they have had enough of paying multiple ‘taxes’ to at least 10 armed groups. Shops and business establishments had shut down on September 16 in protest.

These groups include the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland or NSCN (I-M).

“We have asked the government to clarify if such taxes are legal or illegal. If it says this is illegal, it has to control this with the help of resources and manpower that it has at its disposal. If the government says it is legal, we have to increase the prices of commodities manifold for our survival,” Khekugha Muru, chairman of the Confederation of Nagaland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CNCCI), said.

According to the CNCCI, traders end up paying 12-13 taxes while their counterparts elsewhere pay only the GST. They say the traders are struggling because they cannot sell beyond the MRP and the ‘taxes’ are eating into their profit margin.

A traders’ body in Dimapur, Nagaland’s commercial hub, said the unresolved Naga political issue — peace settlement with NSCN (I-M) and the other groups — is the cause of the problem.

The groups have justified their ‘taxes’ as they claim to run parallel governments. The traders have not refused to pay but have been insisting on “one group, one tax”.

The Dimapur Chamber of Commerce and Industry lamented the random taxation from small shops to truckers, corporate houses and even government employees.

The owner of a small shop pays ₹40,000-50,000 to the armed groups a year, traders said.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2021 12:49:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/are-taxes-by-armed-groups-legal-nagaland-government-asked/article36534756.ece

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