Former finance minister and Congress leader Chidambaram on Sunday slammed the government over its “flawed implementation” of Goods and Service Tax (GST) and added that the policy was thrust upon an “unprepared nation.” The unified tax system completes a year today since its implementation.
Addressing a press conference on the one year of GST, Chidambaram said, “The design, structure, infrastructure backbone, rates and implementation of GST were so flawed that it has become a bad word among business persons, traders and common citizens.”
Chidambaram termed GST as “RSS tax” that had led to an increase in tax burden and become a “bad word” among the people.
Adding that the policy has had no positive impact on the economic growth of the country, he said, “Thanks to GST and Demonetisation, industrialised states have lost a crore of jobs. The only section that appears to be happy about the GST is the tax administration that has acquired extraordinary powers that frighten the average business person and the common citizen.”
“It is widely perceived that GST has increased the tax burden of the common citizen; it has certainly not reduced the tax burden as was promised,” Chidambaram said.
The Congress leader also attacked the government for ignoring the suggestions of others including that of Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian. “Beginning with the GST Constitution Amendment Bill, steps taken by BJP government were deeply flawed. GST Bills ignored the advice of the CEA on many aspects, notably on rates. Net result is what we have today is a very different animal and not a true GST,” he said.
Subramanian, in a recent interview to The Indian Express, said that the 28 per cent tax slab of GST needs to be removed.
Chidambaram also said petroleum products and electricity needs to be brought under the ambit of GST and that the amendments to the GST law must be discussed with the Opposition before the monsoon session of Parliament.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also hit out at the government over the various tax slabs, saying “A ‘Single Tax GST’, as promised, remains a ‘pipe dream’” “#GST completes 1 Year at 12’O Clock tonight, it remains ‘Grossly Scary Tax’ for millions of traders, shopkeepers & businessmen. No wonder #GST’s more popular description is ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ then ‘Genuine & Simple Tax’ that it was meant to be,” he wrote on Twitter.
Mr Jaitley says he does not understand why previous governments could not implement GST.
Answer is simple: because the BJP opposed GST tooth and nail and obstructed it for 5 years until May 2014.
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) July 1, 2018
The government, meanwhile, is celebrating July 1 as ‘GST Day.’
Congratulating the country on one year of GST, PM Modi on Twitter said, “A vibrant example of cooperative federalism and a ‘Team India’ spirit, GST has brought a positive change in the Indian economy.”