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NEW DELHI: Indian traders and shopkeepers will hold a nationwide protest next week against a hike in taxes on a range of products and services, including food grains and household items, a top official of a leading traders’ group said.
“The 5% tax on a range of food products – which remained tax free so far – and hike in rates on other household items has increased the inflation burden on the public and traders,” said Pravin Khandelwal, president of the Confederation of All India Traders, which represents more than 10 million small shopkeepers and wholesalers.
He said the group’s members would launch a nationwide series of protest meetings on July 26, starting in Bhopal, a state capital in central India and a stronghold of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Small traders and shopkeepers are a key constituency for Modi, who introduced the Goods and Services Tax (GST) system in 2017 to replace about 20 federal and state taxes and to help unify Asia’s third-largest economy.