VAT exemption row: Govt-traders meet today

Bhubaneswar: A high-level meeting between Government and traders to resolve the row over value added tax (VAT) on essential commodities, originally scheduled for Tuesday, will be held today at Secretariat today.

The meeting will be chaired by Finance Minister Pradeep Amat. Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Sanjay Dasburma, Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi, Secretary of Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare, Additional Chief Secretary in charge of Finance department and representatives of the traders body will all attend the meeting.

The meeting will discuss the demand raised by the traders association for waiver of five per cent value added tax (VAT) on food items including pulses, wheat and wheat products, sugar, rice and edible oil.

Following the March 26 discussion which did not yield any results, another high-level meeting between the State Government and the traders’ association had been scheduled for Tuesday to sort out the issue of VAT on certain commodities.

In the March 26 meeting, the State government had given certain proposals and asked the traders’ association to consider them and revert.

Notably, angry over the State government’s ‘failure’ to exempt 5% VAT on essential commodities, the traders’ association, on March 25, had decided to stop import of pulses, wheat and wheat products from neighbouring States from April 1.

The traders’ body argued that though nine months had passed since it assured to take a call on the VAT issue, the State government had not taken any decision on the matter.

The State government has made it clear it wants a uniform VAT rate on pulses, wheat and wheat products for all states.