A DAY after the GST Council announced certain decisions to reduce the compliance burden on small businesses and traders, opposition Congress on Saturday accused the government of wasting an opportunity to put India on the growth path through the Goods and Services Tax. The party said the Narendra Modi government had “utterly failed” to address structural issues of the tax reform measure. While the Congress welcomed the relaxations, announced on Friday by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, it said adjournment and deferment, rather than decision-making, appear to be the way forward for the government. “Overall, a vision-less government drunk with arrogance is wasting a golden opportunity of putting India on a growth trajectory,” Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said.
“In classical BJP style of ‘we know it all’, they first refused to acknowledge the clutter, confusion and cost to the economy by botching up the GST conception and implementation,” Surjewala said. “Reality dawned with the massive economic downslide. While we welcome the interim relief to certain sections, the government has utterly failed to address structural issues of GST reform through fair and transparent consultations.”
Surjewala said that instead of becoming a “good and simple tax” the GST has become a “grossly scary tax”. It has failed to provide relief to the common man or to the farming and textile sectors, the biggest generators of employment in the country. The truth is that the Indian GST rate is now the highest in the world, he said.