Opposing the July 1 rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam said on Friday that introduction of the new regime at this stage would be ‘draconian’ for the people. While making it clear that the Congress party was not opposed to the new tax regime, Nirupam said that it was opposed to the way the BJP was implementing it. “We can never be against the GST. We had introduced it. It is the way the BJP is going about its implementation. We fear it will fuel inspector-raj, increase scope of black money and corruption,” he said.
He said, “Any trader found not having registered under the Act will be penalised. At present, not every trader will be aware of the details of the Act or how it will be implemented. The government must communicate with the traders and try and understand their concerns before imposing the rule,” he said.
Nirupam said that consultations should be held with all stakeholders before rolling out the new tax regime. Nirupam, who held a press conference at the Congress office at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), said that while the Act was meant to introduce a single tax slab in the country, different tax slabs add to the confusion. “The different percentages of tax slabs of GST — claimed to be 5,12, 18 and 28 — are not equivalent with the “one nation one tax policy regime of the leading party. The maximum slab of 18 percent is also not being followed,” Nirupam said.
“A constitutional amendment to record the GST slabs is needed to be sure that the rate does not increase in the years to come. The move is also going to affect traders as a whole as it will bring certain goods including textile goods, tractors under tax which were not there before,” he added.
Nirupam had tweeted to Amitabh Bachchan on Thursday to keep himself away from being the ambassador for GST. “We have supported the versatile actor’s association with government’s other initiatives like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. With GST estimated to bring negative response, we do not want Bachchan’s image to be tarnished,” he added.
Nirupam also criticized Shiv Sena-led Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s move to reject the proposal of Congress in Standing committee on Thursday, over discussing increased slabs of water tax every year. “We are yet not aware of the changes to be introduced through GST as we are not so tech-savvy. We fear what will happen,” said Hasmukh Shah, a cotton trader from Crawford Market.
‘PM Modi brought caste factor in Prez polls’
Sanjay Nirupam said it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has made the “caste” of the candidate important in matters concerning Presidential elections. “Never before has the credibility of the candidate judged by caste during these elections. The BJP’s choice of the Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit leader, introduced the same. As a response, former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar will serve to be a better Dalit candidate,” he added.