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Bharat Bandh: Nationwide shutdown against fuel hike and GST

Bharat Bandh: Nationwide shutdown against fuel hike and GST

New Delhi: On Friday, a nationwide shutdown has been called by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) over rising fuel prices, the Goods and Services Tax and the new e-Way bill- A permit associated with the movement of goods. 

Since then the protestors have claimed that around 40,000 trade associations will extend their support to the shutdown. The demonstration is expected to take place across 1,500 towns and cities. The All India Transporters Welfare Association, the top body of India's road transport sector will also join the protest and hold road blockades across the country.

Farmers' Unions, which have been protesting for months against the three farm laws, have also expressed solidarity.

CAIT said in a tweet last night, demanding simplification of the tax, "Harassed by the complicated GST rules, eight crore traders and 1 lakh transporters will join Bharat Bandh today as a mark of protest against distorted GST.”
"The tax is neither 'good' nor 'simple'," it said in another post on Twitter.

Commercial markets are expected to stay shut as the All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation, the representative body of 4 lakh distributors has also joined hands in the shutdown.

AITWA, the Transporters body has demanded scrapping of "regressive" e-way rules, which says the "mandates impractical compliance from transporters". 

Mahendra Arya, National President AITWA, in a statement, "The consignor or sender of goods have to fill their goods details on an online portal, in part A and the transporter have to update the vehicle no in part B. Transporters have to cover the total journey @ 200 km/day, from consignor place to consignee place as per pin code calculated at shortest distance. This is practically not possible due to many factors such as Sunday/holiday ,accident, part load consolidation, hub and spoke, congestion en-route or at unloading place, driver personal issue and many others."

Stressing that the transporters are "being made scapegoats by tax officials", the AITWA has further said: "Any error or expiry of e way bill due to any mistake whatsoever is heavily and obnoxiously penalised to 200 percent of the tax value, or 100 percent of the invoice value under Section 129 of CGST Act, 2017 even when there is no tax loss to Government."

 "Transporters will stop all their operation and will park their vehicles as a symbolic protest. All customers will be approached by transport companies not to book or load any goods on February 26th, 2021," said Last week, CAIT's secretary-general Praveen Khandelwal said "almost 950 amendments have been made so far to GST rules in the past four years and issues related to glitches in the GST portal and the continuous increase in compliance burden are the major lacunae in the tax regime". 

Amid rising fuel prices, the government is already being targeted by the opposition parties. This is the first nationwide shutdown over the same issue. 

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