Odisha reduces VAT on pulses to 1%

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha cabinet on Tuesday approved reducing Value Added Tax (VAT) on pulses from five percent to one percent for three months on an experimental basis. The government reduced the tax rate on pulses and dals of all kinds under OVAT Act, 2004 for three months with effective from July 1 this year in order to restore stability in prices of these commodities in the market, said Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi. He said if the state government does not lose revenue, as claimed by the traders' body, and the benefits of reduction of tax go to the consumers, then it would consider extending the tax relaxation for a further period. The state government receives a revenue of around Rs 45 crore from these commodities annually, he added. The traders were demanding complete withdrawal of VAT on pulses and other edibles commodities to give them a level playing field as about 22 states have lifted the tax. The state cabinet also approved the creation of 500 posts of Leave Trainee Reserve Medical Officers (LTRMO) in the state to work against the vacancies causes due to relieve of many medical officers for higher study and training for three years. "In order to provide uninterrupted medical services to the general public throughout the year, the creation of the posts was very much essential. These medical officers will be deployed to work in various hospitals against the vacancies caused due to relieve of many medical officers for higher study," said Padhi. The cabinet also approved implementation of model school scheme in all 314 blocks to provide education to 1.75 lakh SC, ST and economically backwards students in CBSE pattern. To implement the scheme, Rs 2628 crore has been estimated for a period of five years, said the chief secretary. Notably, the state government has already made 100 model schools functional in 14 districts from this academic session 2016-17. About 24,000 students have taken admission in classes 6 to 8 this year.