No trade fee, Secunderabad Cantonment Board starves

The fact that SCB was not insisting on past dues is also encouraging traders to apply for trade licences.

HYDERABAD: The Secunderabad Cantonment Board is hoping to achieve its full potential in issuing trade licences and collecting taxes in the next three to four years. As of now only 10 to 15 per cent of shops and commercial establishments in the SCB’s eight divisions have enrolled their businesses with the Cantonment Board and paying taxes.

SCB vice-president J. Ramakrishna explained that Cantonment traders took it easy because of limitations in Cantonment Act of 2006 regarding commercial activities in residential layouts and colonies abutting main roads.

“According to the Act, authorities cannot sanction trade licences in residential layouts. However in the last 10 years, commercial activities have increased considerably and at present there are 8,000 to 10,000 shops and commercial establishments in the eight wards,” he said.

He said only a handful were paying tax. “There is no separate trade wing in SCB to attend to these issues and lack of proper enforcement is not helping the cause either,” he said.

Mr Ramakrishna said that the board had requested the Union defence ministry earlier to relax trade licence norms so that SCB could issue licences to commercial spaces in residential layouts and those which are located abutting main roads.

SCB chief executive officer S.V.R. Chandrashekar said the situation had improved in the last three years. The Board was able to collect Rs 3 crore to 'crore revenue from licences and this figure is bound to increase in the next three to four years, he said.

Officials stated that with GST coming into picture, traders and businessmen had begun showing interest to securing a trade licence. For the first time in several years SCB received more than 250 applications during board meeting held few weeks ago.

“For last two years the number was in the range of 100 plus. This time the applications rose to nearly 250. With new taxation regime traders are feeling important to have a proper licence that it will also give them identification and security,” said an official.

The fact that SCB was not insisting on past dues is also encouraging traders to apply for trade licences.

For shops and establishments in bazaars and commercial areas, SCB is collecting trade licences and for those falling in residential layouts, authorities are collecting trade licence fines.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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