Bharat Bandh today: Commercial markets to stay shut as traders protest against GST, rising fuel prices

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The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has called for a Bharat Bandh on Friday (February 26). Traders across the country are demanding a review of the provisions of the goods and services tax (GST) regime. It also wants the government to rectify glitches in e-commerce for preventing the violation of law by foreign e-commerce companies. Because of this, all commercial markets in the country will be shut on February 26.

Over 8 crore traders from across the country will join the Bharat Bandh on February 26 while around 40,000 traders will also observe a strike to protest against the amendments of GST rules.

In a statement, the CAIT said that over 8 crore traders belonging to more than 40,000 trade associations across the country will observe the ‘Bharat Vyapar Bandh’ to protest against some of the “draconian, arbitrary and critical” amendments made recently in GST rules.

To support the traders and the strike, the All India Transport Welfare Association (AITWA) an apex body of 1 crore transporters has also announced ‘Chakka Jam’ (road blockage) on February 26 across India. The organisations have also appealed to the government to withdraw heavy taxes on fuel prices and make it uniform all over the country.

Mahendra Arya, the National President of AITWA, said, “All state level-transport associations have confirmed their support to AITWA in this one-day non-operation of transport in protest of the fuel price hike and scrapping of new E-way bill laws introduced by Government of India. The nature of the movement is to reject booking and movement of all E-Way Bill-oriented goods for one day. All transport companies are asked to park their vehicles between 6 am to 8 pm as a symbolic protest. All transport godowns will display the protest banners. All customers will be approached by transport companies not to book or load any goods on February 26th, 2021.”

CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said that not only traders but even small industries, hawkers, and women entrepreneurs among others will also join the bandh. Furthermore, associations of chartered accountants and tax advocates have supported the strike and have informed their clients not to visit their offices on Friday.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, he said, “All commercial markets across the country will remain closed and protest dharnas will be organised in different cities of all states,” adding that along with CAIT, over 40,000 traders’ associations across the country will support the Bandh. He also observed that voluntary compliance is the key to a successful GST regime, as it will encourage more people to join the indirect tax system, increase tax base and boost revenue.

‘Dharna’ will be held in more than 1,500 towns and cities across states and no traders will login to the GST portal to register their protest.

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