Following protests from several MLAs, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesdaty announced that his government has decided to roll back the proposed imposition of VAT on textile and low-cost shoes and urged the Centre to do the same on 1 per cent proposed hike on non-silver jewellery.
Kejriwal said within 24 hours of tabling the budget, they reversed their decision to impose VAT on textile and shoes priced below Rs 500.
Claiming that his government takes fast decisions, he accused the Centre of being "arrogant" and "stubborn" for not withdrawing the proposed excise duty on non-silver jewellery despite long protests by traders.
"On Monday, we presented budget and yesterday, traders raised their issues before us and today, we withdrew our decision.
"We accepted our mistake after meeting a delegation of cloth traders. Our government is proactive which takes fast decision in view of people's welfare," Kejriwal said in the Assembly here.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had proposed rationalisation of tax on textiles and fabrics by applying uniform tax of 5 per cent on all varieties, including sarees, except khadi and handloom.
The Delhi Chief Minister also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw the proposed excise duty on non-silver jewellery.
"In 2012, UPA government had imposed an excise duty on jewellery and at that time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, being the then Gujarat Chief Minister, had strongly opposed the move.
"For the last 29 days, jewellers have been protesting against the excise duty and their business has been closed down. They are on the roads demanding the rollback of excise duty on jewellery, but the Centre is not paying heed to their demands," he said.
"On one side, there is central government which is arrogant and stubborn and on other hand, there is a Delhi government which has withdrawn proposed excise duty within 24 hours of proposing the same," Kejriwal said.
Earlier in the day, taking part in discussion over Budget, Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta and even AAP MLAs, including Madan Lal, Alka Lamba and Vishesh Ravi opposed the government's decision to impose VAT on textile and shoes costing below Rs 500.
Gupta said that in the last 50 years, no government has imposed any VAT on textile and this is the first government which has proposed to levy VAT on such items.
AAP MLA Anil Vajpayee said his Gandhi Nagar constituency houses cloth traders where around 10 lakh people are getting employment and there is no VAT on neibouring states in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
"If government imposes VAT on textile, cloth merchants will move to Noida, Ghaziabad, Faridabad for doing business," he said.