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Budget: State to prop up small traders, start-ups

While delivering the West Bengal Budget 2017-2018, state finance minister Amit Mitra on Friday proposed to increase the threshold under VAT from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh to help small businesses and start-ups.

Mitra has proposed the complete abolition of the provision of submitting separate VAT audit reports. "Instead, the dealers may submit the income audit report which will be accepted as VAT audit report for other purposes. Because of this, more than 30,000 small businessmen will be benefitted," he said.

Also, he said that to facilitate the service of early refunds, the process has already been simplified and made transparent. "But many old refund cases are still pending. Steps have been taken to ensure that all pending cases are disposed of by 31 December 2017. Presently, only traders with annual turnover less than Rs 50 lakh are covered under Composition scheme which has a nominal VAT liability," he added.

In his next proposal, he mentioned that small manufacturers with an annual turnover with less than Rs 50 lakh will also be included in this category. "This will benefit over 33,000 small manufacturers," he said.

The state government has also proposed to set up new VAT offices at Rajarhat, Alipurduar, Digha and Kasba.

Along with this, proposals for tax relief on some eco-friendly items like biodiesel, biomass bracket, solar water heater, plates and cups made of sal leaves and tiles of terracotta have also been made at the budget. "Items like kerosene stove, hair band, and hair clips will have tax relief," said Mitra.

Mitra also proposed to increase the honorarium of Anganwadi and Asha workers by Rs 500. "This will be beneficial to over 2 lakh Anganwadi workers and 50,000 Asha workers. We also propose to give Rs 50,000 as a one-time grant to the workers of other states, and to those you turned jobless due to the money ban movement. For this, West Bengal government will set up a fund worth Rs 250 crore," Mitra added.

According to Mitra, there will be a reduction in the Stamp Duty on Agreement to Sale "To get the benefit of the reduced rate, one has to register within four years from the date of agreement on payment based on stamp duty," he added.

During the proposition, Mitra said that there have been several times when traders of flats or apartments delay the registration of property. "In the case of early registration, the fee would be reduced by 20 per cent," he added.

Taking a dig at the demonetization move, Mitra said India's economic growth was reduced to 7.1 per cent and that it would be restricted to 9.27 per cent.

"Economists had predicted that it would take two to three years to restore normalcy in the country. Demonetization has affected all the sectors ranging from agriculture to small traders. But, in the turmoil, West Bengal was able to keep its economic growth stable. No ongoing projects were stopped," he added.
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