Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday promised traders ₹50-lakh loan without any collateral, credit card facility and a pension scheme for small shopkeepers as he made a strong re-election pitch to the business community.
Modi said while his government has stood by traders in thick and thin, the opposition Congress has abused businessmen by calling all of them ‘chor’ (thieves).
Addressing a traders’ convention here, he said the BJP-led NDA government worked to simplify lives and businesses of traders by scraping 1,500 archaic laws, simplifying processes and providing easy credit.
Traders are “backbone” of the Indian economy but had in past never got the respect they deserved, Modi said, adding that doubling the size of the economy to $5 trillion is not possible without their contribution.
After being re-elected, he said, his government will set up a National Traders’ Welfare Board, bring trader credit cards and a pension scheme for small shopkeepers.
Processes have been simplified, inspector raj largely checked and personal interference in income tax assessment removed.
“I consider you (traders) as biggest stakeholder of the economy. Opposition parties remember you only on special occasion,” he said.
Modi said the Goods and Services Taxhas made doing business transparent, ended state check-posts and resulted in doubling of registered traders.
“I do not say there may have not been mistakes (in implementing GST) but we have quickly addressed any anomalies based on suggestions from traders,” he said.Based on suggestions of traders, most daily use items are taxed at zero rate while 98 per cent of the commodities are taxed at less than 18 per cent, he said.