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State mobile retailers to down shutters to protest VAT hike
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MUMBAI: Around 5,000 mobile retailers across Maharashtra will down shutters on Thursday to protest the hike in value added tax (VAT) from 4% to

12.5%. This is the first time that mobile retailers in the state are resorting to a day-long shut-down to press for their demands.

A retailers’ delegation will lead a protest march to the Maharashtra VAT Commissioners’ office on Thursday to present a petition for rollback of the levy, Maharashtra Mobile Trade Association president Tushar Avalani said in a statement in Mumbai.

Maharashtra is the only state charging a VAT of 12.5% on mobiles. The tax is up to 4% in other states.

“Maharashtra’s mobile traders have been one of the most successful and significant channels for the proliferation of mobility in the state. As the largest mobile handset market in India, the state’s contribution to the industry, government and consumers is undisputed.

A regressive step like this will severely cripple the growth of organised mobile retail trade in the state, in addition to leading to a resurgence of grey channel,” Mr Avalani said. “We expect sales through the legal channels to fall drastically from the current 1 million units a month,” he added.

Indian Cellular Association, the industry body for handset manufacturers, has forecast that the move may impact over 1.5 lakh people employed.

in sales and after sales services. It will also pull down handset sales from over 12 million annually to as low as 0.8 million units, the association fear.
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