Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said here on Saturday that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) should be restructured and made into one tax.
Responding to a question on GST at an interaction with MSME entrepreneurs, he said “We had conceptualised Goods and Services Tax (GST) as one tax and minimum tax. However, when Mr. Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister he decided to bypass negotiations and super-imposed the GST”.
“The GST should be restructured. It should be one tax.” Under the COVID-19 situation, the government should have certain provisions that make GST more benign. Mr. Gandhi said he would raise this and the raw materials issue in Parliament.
The Congress leader said the foundation of economic growth in India was diversity. India itself was the idea of diversity. The notion that the Prime Minister had that you could reduce diversity and grow faster, was ignorance, it was lack of understanding and lack of respect, he said. The present dispensation thought that “power should be centralised, that one man should control everything, that one organisation should control everything...you cannot have an economy without diversity,” he added.
Responding to questions regarding challenges faced by the MSMEs in the international market, he said the economy was becoming difficult for MSMEs. They needed attention to become successful and evolve into larger industries in the future. Only the SMEs can help India compete with countries such as China. The MSMEs should be truly empowered. They should have access to finance. The government should not tie their hands with GST, demonetisation and say “compete with China”.
Mr. Gandhi said the biggest challenge was the mindset of the political leadership. There should be a change in mindset. The GST and other compliances should be simplified for the MSMEs.
On equipping students with employability skills, he said currently there was a definite unemployment problem. So, even if there were skilled people, there were no jobs for them. So the engine of the economy needed to be started. And, the education system should be designed to be more practical and have better linkage with business/industry.