Congress said the current GST is “good for the government but bad for the common man”
NEW DELHI (IANS) — The Congress on Saturday demanded implementation of a Goods and Services Tax (GST) system favoured by the earlier UPA government and said the current GST is “good for the government but bad for the common man”.
The opposition party said the implementation of the original GST would be possible once there was a change in government at the Centre.
“The reality is that whenever this government has taken steps to change the economic structure of the country, the people have become unhappy. People were first hit by demonetisation and then by the GST,” senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said this is a good and simple tax. Our take is that it is goodbye to simple tax. They are aware about the GST law, but they should also have knowledge about business and trade,” he added.
Sibal said: “We demand the government implement the GST which the United Progressive Alliance government wanted to introduce. It will happen only if the government at the Centre changes. Tax should be good and simple. The sufferings of textiles traders should be stopped. The problems of unregistered traders should be addressed and tax rates on basic amenities reduced.”
The Congress leader said GST is not a ‘one nation, one tax’ regime and pointed out that there are seven rates and state governments are entitled to levy municipal tax over and above these taxes.
He said the GST had hit transport and textiles sectors and exports.
“In Tamil Nadu, if one goes for a movie and if the ticket is of more than Rs 100 then the movie-goer will be taxed 28 per cent. If ticket is less than Rs 100 then it will be 18 per cent GST.
“Apart from these taxes, 30 per cent tax will be levied by the state government. Thus, the total entertainment tax on tickets above Rs 100 will be 58 per cent, and 48 per cent on those less than Rs 100. What kind of tax is this?” asked Sibal.
The former Union Minister said traders will now have to file 37 forms anually under the GST system. “How will a small trader file so many forms? For them, the GST will lead to sacrificing of social and family life.”
“You want people to do business or do you want people to shut down as tax inspectors will run after them,” Sibal asked.
Citing a newspaper report, the Congress leader said the increase in investment by private firms in 2016-17 in India is the lowest since 1992.
“This is because of the economic situation which has brought the private sector to its knees. The last time it was low was in 1999-2000, when the Bharatiya Janata Party was in power,” he added.