The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP eyes sops

New Delhi, May 13: The BJP is set to extract more fiscal concessions from the Centre to appease the trade and small industry sectors in the run-up to Assembly polls.

Party chief M. Venkaiah Naidu yesterday met Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for the purpose. BJP sources described as “positive” the meeting which was also attended by deputy Prime Minister .K. Advani, Union finance Jaswant Singh and communications and disinvestment minister Arun Shourie.

According to the sources, the party sought from Singh three major concessions for the powerloom sector:

Extension of the date for declaring their stocks for availing Cenvat (Central Value Added Tax) benefits. The plea was made as many powerloom owners could not meet the deadline of May 12.

A more firm assurance than that provided in the finance minister’s reply of not applying the Cenvat provision retrospectively, but only prospectively.

This was in response to Jaswant saying that if powerloom owners wanted to declare their stocks to avail Cenvat benefits, they could declare stocks worth not more than Rs 10,000 on each powerloom. No questions would then be asked about previous stock.

According to the sources, the BJP got the feedback that income-tax authorities could use this provision to harass tax payers over past tax declarations.

Increase in the excise duty exemption on unbranded woven and knitted ready-made garments up to their first clearance.

The current exemption limit is Rs 25 lakh, subject to the annual turnover being Rs 30 lakh or less. The BJP wanted the Rs 30-lakh limit to be raised to at least Rs 50 lakh.

Singh, the sources said, assured Naidu he would respond to the suggestions “positively”.

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