Two years back when the Punjab government announced ‘Rahat Scheme’ for the trader community, it surely brought rahat (relief) to them. As the name suggests, this scheme gives the convenience to traders to opt for lump sum tax under three different categories.
The scheme which had been launched by Punjab Deputy Chief Minister, Sukhbir Singh Badal in a rally in Bathinda, has in its true sense made life of trader community easier. The scheme has also rightfully managed to keep a check on ‘Inspector Raj’ by streamlining the procedures, thus also doing away with cumbersome record keeping by traders. They can pay their annual taxes without any hassle under the said scheme.
The scheme called, Punjab Small Traders Rahat Scheme has been specially drafted for the small trader community which shows the intent of the government to encourage the small traders whose turnover is not as big as that of well-established businessmen.
The government had launched the scheme in 74 cities of the state, with 24 of them in the bigger cities and the rest in smaller ones, keeping in mind the interest of small businessmen in smaller cities.
The scheme lays down that those having a turnover of Rs 25 lakh deposit Rs 5000 one-time tax while those from Rs 25-50 lakh pay Rs 10,000 as the lumpsum tax. Further one has to pay Rs 15,000 if the turnover of Rs 50 lakh to 75 lakh while it is Rs 20,000 for those having turnover of Rs 1 crore.
A helpline 1800-258-2580 and email ID firstname.lastname@example.org further gives the privilege to traders to submit their complaints or suggestion to help improve the Rahat Scheme. This brings about transparency in its implementation.
When the Punjab Deputy Chief Minister had launched the scheme he had announced that the main objective behind introducing the same was to eliminate ‘Inspector Raj’ and to ensure that the trader community doesn’t face harassment.
The scheme has helped in giving a suitable environment to the traders and to help them run their businesses without fearing from red-tapism which has been completely done away with and small businessmen are able to carry out their business with ease.
Further under the Rahat scheme excise and taxation department have not been authorised to inspect business records of those who under the ambit of the said scheme. However to maintain checks the commissioner has been entrusted with the responsibility of getting the records inspected in case any irregularity is found as the objective is to simplify things for small traders but also keeping in mind the rules and regulations.
With the introduction of the scheme it was initially felt it would lead to loss of revenue, but it rather helped in pushing the revenue. With government streamlining the entire taxation procedure through this scheme, more and more businessmen came forward to get themselves registered under the scheme. The government had not been receiving any amount towards VAT from them, but with the rationalization of the policy, things have changed for better, both for the government and those governed.