NEW DELHI: Software and hardware crisis troubled the Delhi traders on the first day of the launch of Goods and Services Tax (GST). No proper system in place to comply with the new guidelines, led to confusion among the trader community in Sadar Bazaar—the biggest wholesale market of the national capital. This in turn led to a sharp dip in the business.
Majority of the traders in the market, which has 50,000 shops alongside the narrow and congested streets, were found resorting to traditional method of issuing bills manually.
“The problems are multi-layered. Majority of the traders don’t have computers and many don’t have the new software to generate bills. We had kept the markets shut on Friday and some shops were not even selling goods on Saturday,” said Rakesh Kumar Yadav, President of Sadar Bazaar Traders’ Association.
When The Sunday Standard team visited the market on Saturday, traders complained about the negative impacts of the GST on their business.
“Tally Solutions GST compliance software has come into the market only on June 26. There are lakhs of businessmen in the city. How can it be installed everywhere in such a small time frame? The printing of new bill books is taking time. We can’t work on old bills as they had different format,” Yadav added.
Another hardware and sanitary ware shop owner looked distressed as this reporter asked him about the impact of the GST launch.
Baldev Gupta said he was not against the GST, but, there were some issues that had affected the business very badly. “28 per cent GST on hardware is completely unjustified. This is in contradiction with government’s scheme of affordable housing for common people. Hardware is part of housing, and the government has kept maximum tax on it,” Gupta said.
Many customers have shown reluctance on paying the increased rate of tax under the GST. “Many customers wanted to purchase items without bill. This is because of the higher slab of tax of 28 per cent on these items. We don’t want to do this, but customers are forcing us to sell items without paying tax. They simply say that they don’t want any bill for the articles purchased,” added Gupta.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has some other plans. Confederation’s general secretary Praveen Khandelwal said, “We will make a nationwide outreach plan to galvanise traders for smooth and hurdle-free transition of GST. Ground level working is required now to formulate the plans and put the CAIT teams into action.”
Khandelwal said that CAIT intends to submit an exhaustive memorandum to the authorities concerned containing issues and concerns of the trading community pertaining to simplification and rationalisation of procedures. “We will also inform the government about removal of anomalies and contradictions in tax rates, reducing the compliance cost and making trading community a trusted partner in the growth of business and economy,” said Khandelwal.