Ground Report | New Delhi: Hundreds of street vendors; In a surprising revelation, the Income Tax Department of Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh found that around 256 street food vendors selling snacks like samosas, paan, and chaat are actually millionaires. He also had property worth crores in the densest colonies of the city. Even some sanitation workers such as rag pickers were found to have more than three cars. Investigations have revealed that these millionaires, who otherwise seem poor, have evaded their taxes.
According to the IT department, these secret millionaires saved a whole lot and spent over 37.5 million Indian rupees ($503,947) to buy the property. The department also found that several scrap dealers had at least three cars. Many also bought large amounts of agricultural land in the rural areas around Kanpur.
However, his secret deal came to light when the IT department conducted an investigation using Big Data software. Some of them have gone ahead and bought 650 bighas of land in rural areas around Kanpur city and if you feel that the lockdown is affecting your income, you will be shocked to know that some of these shops and vehicles owners have actually has invested in it.
The I-T department had kept many of these under surveillance for a long time. None of these suspects had paid any tax or GST despite having a huge amount of income. Now the Income Tax Department has issued a notice to such people.
According to reports, many of these vendors had accounts with small cooperative banks and financial companies to cover up the fraud. Many had various accounts in the names of family members or relatives.
However, the IT department can uncover fraud as the same PAN card was used to open all these accounts. Apart from vendors, many junk dealers have also been found involved in such frauds. IT is probing the matter.
This is not the first time that such a secret Indian millionaire has come to the fore. In 2016, a dozen street food vendors were apprehended in Kanpur with an undisclosed income of 600 million Indian rupees ($8 million), while several street food vendors were similarly apprehended in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad. In India’s big cities, urban legends are modest-looking but popular street vendors secret millionaires. Such raids prove that there is probably more to it than meets the eye.
Although the Indian government passed the Street Vendors Act in 2014 to protect hawkers who did not have a permanent shop, they continue to deal with issues such as harassment and license caps. For example, in Mumbai, the authorities have granted only 15,000 licenses despite having around 250,000 street vendors who were then forced to sell their wares illegally.
With over 600,000 people in business, street vendors are an essential and legitimate part of India’s urban retail trading and distribution system. They represent 4 percent of the urban workforce across India and provide daily necessities to the general public. They have a parallel turnover of around 800 million Indian rupees (about $10 million) a day, most of which support an average of three others as employees or partners.