The Delhi Congress on Tuesday protested against “faulty implementation” of GST, alleging that high tax rates under the regime has broken the back of the small and medium-level traders and common people, while working wonders for the affluent few. Party members, led by their state chief Ajay Maken and supported by some local trade organisations, protested at the Jantar Mantar here. They also tried to move towards Parliament but were stopped by the Delhi Police.
Maken said that the “high” tax rates under GST had “broken the back” of the small and medium-level traders and common people, while working wonders for the affluent few. “The GST in its present form by the BJP government at the Centre has not only adversely affected the businesses of the small and medium-level traders and the common people, but has also created unemployment,” Maken said.
Although the Congress had emphatically supported and pursued the idea of replacing the old tax regime with “one nation, one tax”, the DPCC chief said, the GST in its current form is nowhere near their ideal model. “This GST is nothing like the one Congress envisioned. Our GST was supposed to have the highest tax rate of 14 per cent. Neither did our GST have the provision of five different slabs,” he said.
The GST is a relatively complex taxation system with four broad tax categories of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent, and myriad exceptions, as opposed to a simpler, flatter and broader sales taxes in other countries. Notably textile traders in Gujarat’s Surat and Punjab’s Ludhiana have been on streets for days now, to protest against GST on textile products.
Maken assured the traders that the Congress would support their fight against the GST. “Our leaders will fight for your cause in Parliament and we will hit the streets to slay this demon of GST that Modiji has unleashed upon the poor and middle class,” he said. Terming the protest as “a beginning”, Maken urged people to join the Congress in its fight and alleged that the GST was meant to benefit only the rich industrialists while sacrificing the MSMEs.
“Today, some people think GST is an issue concerning only traders. This is an issue of common people and inflation. It is about raising voice against sacrificing small traders and poor people for the benefit of a few rich industrialists,” he said. Congress was one of the opposition parties that had skipped the midnight GST meeting, on July 30, held to usher in the new tax regime in India.