Slamming the BJP for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Tueday said the new tax system would not succeed and it would give rise to inflation as well as confusion. “We were in favour of one slab of tax, that is 18 per cent and simple compliance procedure. However, the present structure of the GST they have created, it is certainly going to be an unsuccessful enterprise,” he told reporters here.
“Revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia is an honest man, but they are trying to implement the GST through impractical ways and with this kind of implementation, confusion will be created, which will initially give rise to inflation in the country….The GST will not be successful,” he said. Singh was in the city after visiting Pandharpur in Solapur district in Maharashtra, where lakhs of devotees throng on the occasion of ‘Ashadhi Ekadashi’ celebrated today.
The former Madhya Pradesh chief minister also slammed the ruling BJP saying when it was in the opposition, the party had said that the GST will not be successful in the country, whereas it is now labelling the move as “revolutionary”. “Celebrations took place at midnight as if the country has got second freedom,” Singh said. He added that the countries where the GST has become successful, have chosen a single tax slab structure.
“PM Modi is saying that it is good and simple tax, but it is not a reality. There are six slabs and petrol and liquor have been kept out of the GST and filing of tax returns have been made so complicated,” he said.
“Previously, taxpayers used to file tax returns only four times, but now the same taxpayer will have to file tax 37 times and firms will have to appoint chartered accountants on a permanent basis,” said Singh. “The way demonetisation was implemented without printing of new notes, the same way they have now rolled out the GST without any preparation, as so far the returns formats are not available, there is a lack of infrastructure, such as internet connectivity, in remote areas,” he alleged.
Taking a dig at the prime minister, the Congress general secretary said, “Modiji said that in order to eradicate black money, they have brought the GST, but alcohol which is the main source of black money, have been kept out of the GST.” Accusing the BJP and RSS for inciting violence and creating a communal rift in the society, Singh alleged that “targeted lynching” of Muslims is the dangerous thing for the country.
“Modi tweets over small issues, but he did not tweet about the farmers, who were killed in firing in Madhya Pradesh. We want a prime minister, who does not have 56 inch chest, but who has a 56 inch heart,” Singh said. Talking about Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar supporting NDA’s presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind, the Congress leader said it was Kumar, who had fist pushed for the the unified opposition’s candidate, although he later supported Kovind.
While speaking on farmers’ condition in the country, Singh said demonetisation hit farmers in a big way. “In Maharashtra, the state government announced the farm loan waiver. However, some farmers told me that the government has put a condition that farmers have to clear their outstanding loan, only after which they will get the loan waiver up to Rs 1.5 lakh,” he said.
He added that the minimum support price (MSP) is still not operational in the country. He said change in import duty on wheat and other agriculture produce also harmed the farmers’ interests. “The Centre reduced the import duty to zero per cent from 10 per cent on wheat and after wheat was imported it was again increased to 10 percent,” he said.