Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said traders were complaining about the goods and services tax (GST) regime, despite the fact that the ultimate burden of taxation was falling on consumers. He added that the consumers were not complaining about the new indirect tax system because the government kept the rates at reasonable levels.
“Taxation ka burden toh ant mein jaa ke consumer pe lagta hai. Agar consumer pe padta hai, toh kuch interim, jo madhyast hai chahe manufacturing mein, trade mein hai, vo toh burden pass on karte hain. Consumer kahi desh mein shikayat nahi kar raha kyunki jo basket of taxation hai overall usko humnein aur reasonable karne ki koshish ki hai. Toh trade mein log kyu shikayat kar rahe hain, trade mein toh apni jeb se paisa nahi dena, vo toh consumer pe jaana hai. (The burden of tax, in the end, is on the consumer. If consumer pays the tax, the interims, whether in manufacturing, or in trade, only pass on the tax. The consumer is not complaining about GST because we have attempted to keep the overall basket of taxation reasonable. Then why are traders complaining, even though they don’t have to pay anything from their pockets),” Jaitley said, while addressing the Chartered Accountants’ Day event organised here by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
“Kaaran bada spasht hai, ke kayi baar humare samaaj mein jo abhyaas padh gaya ke tax na dena, ismein koi burai nahi hai. Jab humnein gold pe 1 per cent excise duty lagaya, toh desh bhar mein protest hua, aur jab GST Council ne kaha 3 per cent kar do, toh un hi logo ne humara swagat kiya, kyuki is beech mein shayad 6 mahine bhi nahi beete the par mindset mein ek parivartan aaya ke ab dena padega (The reason is very clear, there are some who have a perception that there is nothing wrong about not paying taxes. When we imposed one per cent excise duty on gold, there were protests, but when GST Council said it should be made three per cent, the same people welcomed the decision, because within those six months, the mindset was changed that now taxes will have to be paid),” he added.
Further, Jaitley also defended the government’s move to have four tax slabs of five, 12, 18, and 28 per cent, under GST, saying that a single rate today would make zero-rated food items costlier, which are consumed by poor people. He added that the government has taken several “tough decisions”, which helped restore credibility of the economy, and pointed out that it was essential for the government’s direction to be right. “No half-baked measures can result in reform. Government which blinks is never able to reform,” Jaitley said.
‘Govt working to cleanse political funding’
The Centre is close on the heels of announcing a mechanism for electoral bonds as a part of its drive to cleanse political funding, which is a big challenge for the country, Jaitley said on Saturday. He added that corruption in politics was present due to the lack of any transparent instrument in the country for political funding.
In his Budget speech for 2017-18, Jaitley announced a move aimed at promoting transparency in political funding, by capping anonymous cash donations to political parties at Rs 2,000 and introducing electoral bonds. These bonds are expected to resemble a promissory note and not an interest-paying debt instrument, and will be sold by authorised banks and can be deposited in notified accounts of political parties within the duration of their validity.