THE CONGRESS on Wednesday termed the government’s plan to cut GST rates to ensure that 99 per cent items are taxed at 18 per cent or below as “belated wisdom” and targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Slamming the government, former finance minister P Chidambaram said 18 per cent should have been the standard tax rate right from the beginning but wisdom dawned on the government only after it wrecked businesses, especially the micro, small and medium enterprises.
“Having scrambled the egg needlessly when GST was introduced, Government is trying to unscramble it! Typical of NDA. BJP/NDA governance mantra is ‘Leap before you look’. Which is the reason for the damage caused by GST to businesses, especially MSMEs,” he tweeted. “We should have started with 18 per cent as the standard rate,” he said, calling the move “belated wisdom”.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said PM Modi had once called Rahul Gandhi’s demand for 18 per cent or less GST rate as “grand stupid thought”. “It shows that those who love acronyms like grand stupid thought (GST) are now being made to look stupid,” Singhvi said.
“Rahul Gandhi and the Congress have at least 100 times said the faulty GST unveiled by the government is not one nation, one tax… it is one nation, seven taxes…we were made fun of… now with just 100 days left for Lok Sabha polls and with the defeat faced in Assembly elections… the PM has woken up to the fact that the GST implemented by his government is poorly implemented.”
Singhvi said five months ago Jaitley had described Rahul’s suggestion for a single slab GST as a flawed idea. “What has changed in the past five months that the Modi government is forced to adopt the ‘flawed idea’ of a single tax rate… During the Gujarat election campaign, PM Modi had said that Gandhi’s demand for a single tax rate is grand stupid thought… And yesterday he was almost forced to concede to Gandhi’s demand,” he said.