Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 7:
The Odisha government has constituted a ten-member Joint Committee to study the disparities in Value Added Tax (VAT) rates levied on pulses, wheat and wheat products vis a vis other states.
The Joint Committee is headed by Biraj Kumar Das special secretary, Finance department as its chairman.
The Joint Committee will examine various problems affecting the functioning of flour and dal mills in the state including purchase, sale and VAT paid on pulses, wheat and its product.
The Joint Committee consists of members from different departments of the government and representatives from Federation of All Odisha Traders’ Association (FAOTA) said Finance Minister Pradip Kumar Amat adding it has been asked to submit its report within three months.
The Joint Committee will examine the per capita consumption of wheat and wheat products, pulses from 2012-13 to 2014-15, production of wheat and wheat products and pulses during the period among other things, official sources revealed.
The government constituted the Joint Committee after the FAOTA had launched an agitation in April last and stopped import of pulses and wheat products into the state in protest against the disparity in the rate of VAT.
Traders under the banner of FAOTA had gone on strike beginning April 9 till April 13 and had stopped import of pulses, wheat and wheat products from outside the state pressing for a waiver of the five percent value added tax (VAT) on these items.
The traders’ body had claimed that 24 states had waived VAT on these items. They had proposed imposition of one percent Entry Tax in lieu of five percent VAT on these items, a suggestion the government has rejected unambiguously stating that it was not possible at this juncture since the matter is pending in the Supreme Court.