OPPOSITION MOCKS SPECIAL SESSION ON GST

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GST Launch 2017: The midnight launch will be held in the Central Hall of the parliament.

Congress said midnight sessions in Parliament identified with the freedom struggle but the BJP government is undermining its historic status for ‘the sake of its own publicity’

Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — By midnight, when the Goods and Services Tax (GST) would become a reality, major Opposition parties on Friday objected over the way it is being implemented in the country, as they had earlier announced boycotting the special session of Parliament.

The Congress said midnight sessions in Parliament identified with the freedom struggle but the BJP government is undermining its historic status for “the sake of its own publicity”.

The CPI (M) said the GST is being hastily implemented which would fuel more inflation and other problems in the country, and would be a bonanza for the corporates.

Addressing the media persons here, Congress spokesperson and former Union Minister Anand Sharma said the party is mindful of the sanctity of Parliament as it cannot mix up with festivities for the imposition of a taxation proposal.

“We cannot trivialize midnight sessions, the three which were held in the last 70 years connected with India’s Independence. By elevating imposition of a tax to that level, we cannot become a party to that. We are making it very clear. The midnight sessions signify the glorious tradition, history, freedom struggle and nation’s independence and it should not be mixed up with festivities for the imposition of a taxation proposal,” he added.

However, he insisted, “The Congress’ non-participation in the session should not be taken as rejection of the GST.”

On the government not having clarity of the GST on fertilizers, Sharma said he has no comment to offer.

“They should do their homework. It is still half-baked. They should listen to the states. They should at least have had a trial run of GST network for minimum two months. Heavens are not going to open up. The deadline is September 1,” he said.

The Congress leader further said the government is telling the country that they are prepared while they do not have clarity even within the Cabinet.

“It is a very sorry state of affairs as 300 crore returns have to be filed for GST every month, whatever samples or the trial runs have been done are not adequate,” Sharma lamented.

The CPI (M) demanded that the Central government publish a detailed list of commodity prices under the existing combined tax and the GST and intervene to see that the MRP is reduced.

The Left Front has also decided to boycott the special session of the GST. Its largest constituent CPI (M) warned that GST’s implementation has an imminent threat of inflation and an all-round increase in the prices of consumer goods as the common man has been already reeling under the burden of skyrocketing prices.

The CPI (M) said it is estimated that there will be a revenue loss of at least Rs 1 lakh crore for the Centre and state governments.  This will be a bonanza for the corporates, who are not willing to pass on the benefit of the reduced rates to the consumers.

“Modi government is unwilling to effectively use the anti-profiteering clause in the GST law. This clause was meant to ensure that the reduction in the rate of tax arising due to introduction of the GST shall be passed on to the consumers by the commensurate reduction in prices. The Central government has not yet framed the rules under the anti-profiteering clause,” CPI (M) added.

The CPI (M) demanded that the Central government publish a detailed list of commodity prices under the existing combined tax and the GST and intervene to see that the MRP is reduced.

The GST tax rate is going to affect certain sectors and goods adversely. Small scale industry as a whole will be adversely affected because they will have to pay full tax for units above Rs 75 lakh turnover. Earlier, they were exempted for all units below Rs 1.5 crore.

There are various other anomalies which work in favour of the big industries, at the expense of small enterprises. “The Central government and the GST Council must immediately relook these issues and remove the anomalies. In no way can ordinary people be made to pay for the bonanza to be reaped by the corporate,” the party said.

The party said the Modi government is implementing the GST in haste and this is causing a number of problems for the small entrepreneurs, traders and shopkeepers. Enough time should be given for implementation of the new tax structure.

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