As part of an attempt to end the ‘Inspector Raj’ system in the State and in order to check traders’ harassment, the ‘Rahat Scheme’ was launched in 2014 for small businessmen and traders across the State. It is a comprehensive scheme which will help the beneficiaries run their business activities without much hassles. A significant feature under this scheme is that traders would not have to maintain account books, stock registers, purchase invoices or bills, and ledgers and goods receipts, and these measures would completely end the Inspector Raj.
Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab, unveiled the scheme in 2014 and conveyed that he believes in freedom of doing business activities that makes the traders do what they can do the best.
The scheme has been launched for 74 cities and towns in Punjab in Tier-I, Tier-II and Tier-III categories. Under this scheme, traders can opt to pay lump-sum tax ranging from Rs 0-25 lakh to Rs 1 Crore business.
Any trader who has a turnover between Rs 0-25 lakh would have to deposit Rs 5,000 as lump-sum tax, whereas, from Rs 25-Rs 50 lakh, it would be Rs 10,000; Rs 50 lakh to Rs 75 lakh, the lump-sum tax to be paid is Rs 15,000 and for Rs 1 crore turnover, it would be Rs 20,000.
A new amendment in January 2015 brings the ‘one time annual VAT payment scheme’ for traders in 71 towns. Traders would now only need to submit self-assessment of their annual turnover to the Department and have to pay tax in accordance with four different slabs made on the basis of turnover.
Punjab government has also announced abolition of the e-TRIP system besides increasing the value added tax (VAT) on steel industry by 1%.
A helpline number — 1800-2582580, and an e-mail id — firstname.lastname@example.org, has also been launched for traders.