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Traders are ‘positive’ about GST, need handholding: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said traders across the country are “positive” about GST and accepting the new taxation arrangement but they need “handholding” so that their problems can be resolved.

He urged the chief secretaries to use the district administration in this regard, so that small traders are facilitated to access and adopt the new system, according to a PMO statement.

Modi was chairing a meeting of Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation (PRAGATI), a monthly exercise of interaction with top officials of the states via video conference.

At the meeting, the prime minister reiterated that small businesses must register with the GST network to take advantage of business opportunities, the PMO statement said.

He said that the common man and the trader must benefit from this “path-breaking” decision, it added.

The prime minister also called for sustained efforts to boost digital payments and work towards a less cash society.

Reviewing the progress towards handling and resolution of grievances related to the banking sector, he asked the Secretary, Financial Services, to look at ways to increase the use of RuPay debit cards that have been issued to Jan Dhan account holders, the statement said.

He was briefed on the relief that has been received by the Jan Dhan account holders, as part of the insurance provisions that are linked to these accounts, it added.

At the 22nd monthly meeting, the prime minister reviewed the progress of nine infrastructure projects in the railway, road, power, coal and gas pipeline sectors, the statement said.

These projects, with a cumulative worth of over Rs 37,000 crore, are spread over several states including Telangana, Karnataka, West Bengal, Manipur, Mizoram, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Delhi.

Progress on the India-Myanmar Friendship Bridge project was also reviewed.

The prime minister also took stock of the progress of the National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY), and the Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan (Accessible India Campaign) for the Divyang.

He said that while many union government departments are now using the Government e-Marketplace (GeM), only 10 states have so far shown keenness in using it, the statement said.

Modi said that GeM increases the pace of procurement, and boosts transparency, besides supporting enterprise at the local level.

He urged all chief secretaries to explore its use to the extent possible, to minimize leakages and delays, the statement said.

The earlier 21 meetings of PRAGATI have seen a cumulative review of 190 projects with a total investment of Rs 8.94 lakh crore. Resolution of public grievances has also been reviewed in 17 sectors, the PMO said.

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