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Better business: AAP’s Delhi makes good progress by 1st anniversary


A review of the political party’s poll promises on its first full year in power in Delhi.

One poll promise that saw realistic action on the ground during the first year of AAP government was ease of doing business. The licensing process was simplified as was the VAT collection system, while the axe fell on inspector raj. This brought cheer to businessmen, restauranteurs and event managers. The government vowed to lower the legal age of drinking and extend the hours of operation for bars and restaurants. While it is yet to deliver on these promises, the industry is hopeful of a boost.

Riyaaz_Amlani_01“At least the government took a stand on critical issues. Some hurdles are still there. Restaurants have been allowed to operate from the open, but that is not being implemented,” said Riyaaz Amlani, president, NRAI.

“There is also no movement on allowing restaurants to stay open till late. However, on issues where the government has direct control, we have seen a lot of positive changes. Tourism licence for operating restaurants has been done away with. Online applications have put an end to excise department raids,” he added.

Soon after assuming office, the AAP government set up a committee to remove hurdles in way of doing business. Among its recommendations was a single-window clearance for hosting events. This was promptly implemented by the government.

“Even though Delhi was a popular choice, Noida and Gurgaon were bagging all major events. This was due to the requirement of obtaining licences through multiple agencies,” said a government official.

With the process made online, things are different now. “A list of 25 pre-approved venues has been prepared. One only needs to fill up a form online and all permissions will come through automatically,” said the official quoted above. “Payments can be made through net banking or credit card,” said a government official. The first event held in the capital under this system was the Zubin Mehta concert for which permission was reportedly granted in 20 minutes flat.

Raids at cinema halls, unless approved by a commissioner, have stopped. Registration for hotels, gyms and spas has been made easier, say hoteliers. The rule of paying tax before an event is conducted has been relaxed. “However, since the system works on trust, the government will closely monitor declaration of sales, etc., and if discrepancies are found, punishment will be swift and harsh,” said an official.


Team NRAI with Kapil Mishra, Delhi Tourism minister (Centre, white shirt)

VAT collections went up nearly 11% this year. It’s some way off the government target of Rs 21,000 crore, however. A simplified tax system, though not the sole reason, has played a big part in boosting collections. VAT commissioner SS Yadav said multiple interventions brought down harassment of traders while ensuring that the government continued to earn fair revenue.

“Earlier, teams used to visit shops to check invoices and traders would complain of harassment. The government has come up with a bill banvao, inaam pao scheme. With the possibility of earning five times their spend, consumers are now demanding that they be issued bills,” said Yadav.

Between January 18 – when the scheme was launched – and January 31, around 3,500 bills were uploaded on the website. The government has booked 23 dealers operating on cancelled TINs.

More schemes are in the works. A portal is to be launched where market associations with at least 50 members will need to register with the government. Based on the previous year’s sales, a tax target will be set. If the association exceeds the target, it will be entitled to 50% of the excess amount, to be used for development of the market.

Automatic numberplate readers will be set up at borders. Two are already in place – at Ghazipur and NH 24. These capture number plates of vehicles coming in and immediately check with the system to see whether the goods they are carrying are declared or not. A point-of-sale software has been installed at 70 shops to track sales real time. When a bill is generated, the data is immediately updated on VAT servers.

Source: Times of India

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