Old Delhi: Confused traders open shops to new GST regime

Anxious shopkeepers say business down on Day 1, some seek help from CAs, some rope in family members to understand rules

A LARGE NUMBER OF TRADERS CONTINUED TO SELL ITEMS AT THE OLD PRICES ON SATURDAY

of traders in Old Delhi opened their shops on Saturday, amidst confusion regarding the new billing system under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.

With no computers and lack of knowledge about provisions under the GST, a majority of the traders spent their day getting to know more about the new taxation system. They say they will take at least a week before their business can run smoothly again.

From calling up chartered accountants to holding discussions among themselves, traders said that their business came to a standstill on Day 1 of GST. With no computers and the inability to introduce the new billing system to meet the GST requirements, a majority of traders continued to sell items at the old prices.

“The main problem is lack of knowledge about GST. Many traders do not understand its provisions. This has left many with unanswered questions. For example, what to do with old stocks? How does the new billing pattern work?” said Brijesh Goyal, convener, Chamber of Trade & Industry (CTI).

Traders here had been campaigning against GST for the last 45 days. They not just closed their shops in protest on several days but also regularly met government officials and trade associations to find a way to opt out of it. On Friday too, wholesale markets of Chandni Chowk, Sadar Bazar, Mori Gate, Naya Bazar, Khari Baoli and Kashmere Gate had downed shutters .

Vishnu Bhargava, who owns a shop in Kashmere Gate since 1960, said that while many traders are confused about the GST software, tax formalities and returns filing procedure, there are others who are simply terrified of the new computerised billing system.

According to him, there are 20,000 shops in Kashmere Gate but only 20% of them have computers.

Sanjay Bhargav, a fabric distributor at Chandni Chowk, said that the new system won’t affect the law abiding people issuing proper bills for their goods. “But, at present it has slowed down our businesses. Since we don’t have invoice book with GST registration number, customers are not taking delivery. But I will fix the problem in a day or two.”

According to him, earlier there was no tax charged on fabric dealers but now 5% GST would be charged.

Shopkeepers in other prominent markets such as Nehru Place too faced the same issues. The traders, who had already applied for GST numbers with the state government, said that they are still confused and waiting for things to settle down.

“Though I am in the favour of new tax regime but the government has issued us only ‘provision registration number’ and the permanent GST numbers will be issued after 15-20 days ,” said Jitender Kumar Gupta, chairman, Nehru Place Welfare Association.

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