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Cong. will continue to fight for single GST rate: Rahul

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi talks to senior leader P. Chidambaram at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

A day after the GST Council brought down the tax rates of a majority of the items placed under 28%, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said his party would continue to fight for a single rate and an 18% cap on GST.

“India need a simple GST, not a Gabbar Singh Tax. People of India and the Congress fought to bring down the rates of many items under the 28 % slab. Our struggle will continue to have a single rate and an 18 % cap. If the BJP doesn’t do it, Congress will show how to do it,” Mr. Gandhi tweeted on November 11.

On November 10, the Guwahati meeting of the GST council reduced tax rates on 178 items. From beauty products to shampoo to eating out, several goods and services had become cheaper. The Finance Ministry said macro economic situation allowed them to alter the tax structure.

Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on November 11 said, “Ministry of Finance must be complimented for ‘improving’ macro-economic situation in 4 months and 10 days! This is the time taken for common sense to germinate, flower and ripen into a fruit.”

He said on November 10 that “Gujarat elections did what Parliament and common sense could not do”.

But the Congress continued to call the GST a “flawed tax system.” On November 11, party’s communication chief Randeep Surjewala said, “Instalment-based tinkering reflects the chaos and adhoc-ism of the the BJP government.”

“Multiple tax rate slabs are a fatal flaw. One Nation One Tax has become One Nation Seven Taxes,” said Mr. Surjewala. He said for the indirect tax regime to become truly uniform, exempted categories like petroleum products, real estate and electricity need come under GST.

He also claimed that agriculturists have been hit as tractors and other equipment, fertilisers, pesticide and cold storage facilities all come between 5 and 18 % GST.

“Textiles, the second biggest employment generator after agriculture, continue to face deep stress owing to distorted duty structure. What Modi government does not realize is that while the fiber is taxed at 12%, the end-product, fabric, attracts a tax of 5%. This is threatening the livelihood and profitability of non-integrated textile players of man-made fibre (70% of total), while helping the big fish to make huge profits,” Mr. Surjewala said.


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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 3:58:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/gst-architecture-remains-defective-congress/article20210521.ece

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