Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 26:
A high-level meeting between the Odisha government and representatives of traders’ body today failed to arrive at any conclusion following which the next meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday.
The meeting with members of Federation of All Odisha Traders’ Association (FAOTA) was held at the state secretariat here which was chaired by Finance Minister Pradip Kumar Apat and attended by Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Sanjay Dasburma, principal secretary of Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Department Madhusudan Padhi, Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi and Finance Secretary R Balkrishnan among other senior officials.
The meeting discussed on the demands of withdrawal of 5% value added tax (VAT) on food items including pulses, wheat and wheat products, sugar, rice and edible oil raised by the Federation.
According to sources, the state government has put forth certain suggestions before FAOTA and asked it to examine them and convey their views on it.
“We had a threadbare discussion on all issues. The meeting was held in a conducive and constructive manner. It remained inconclusive and they have given us some proposal which we will take up with our executive body. The next meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday,” said Sudhakar Panda, secretary of Federation of All Odisha Traders’ Association (FAOTA) after the meeting.
Notably, the Federation yesterday threatened to stop the import of essential commodities from other states from April 1 protesting against 5% value added tax (VAT) imposed on these items by the state government. The traders’ body has been demanding imposition of unitary tax instead of 5% VAT on food items since long.
“A high-level meeting was held under the chairmanship of Finance Minister. Government has given some proposal to the traders’ body and they are too examining it. We are hopeful to take a constructive decision at the next meeting scheduled on Tuesday. They presented their demands and detailed discussions were held on financial implications on the tax structure,” said Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Sanjay Dasburma.