In his first public appearance via video conferencing since his surgery, Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday called GST a “monumental economic reform.” On the first anniversary of the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Jaitley said the unified tax system has helped in boosting direct tax collections in the April-June quarter of this fiscal.
“… The long-term impact of GST and on India’s GDP growth, on ease of doing business, on the expansion of trade and business and make in India and honest trade and business centres, is going to be significant. I’m confident that the best of GST in terms of its contribution to society is yet to come,” Jaitley said.
The minister in a Facebook post lashed out at the Congress and Rahul Gandhi for preaching the idea of single slab GST across the country. “It is a flawed idea. A single slab GST can function only in those countries where the entire population has a similar and a higher level of paying capacity.”
Earlier in the day, Congress leader P Chidambaram attacked the government for ignoring the suggestions on GST slabs. Taking a dig over the multiple slab rates of government, another Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala on Twitter wrote, “A ‘Single Tax GST’, as promised, remains a ‘pipe dream’.”
Jaitley emphasised the benefits of GST. “The seamless flow of goods and services across the country has made ‘Doing of Business’ simpler. The GST is expanding the tax base of the less developed consuming states significantly, which will provide more resources for them to devote for development purposes. The biggest success of #GST has been that the GST Council has proved to be an extremely effective & powerful decision making federal institution. The Finance Ministers’ of the States have created history in the matter of federal governance,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Both Rahul Gandhi and P. Chidambaram have repeatedly demanded that petroleum products be forthwith brought within the GST. When I speak to the Congress Finance Ministers’ in the States, they don’t seem to be ready for it. But what was the UPA’s own track record on petroleum products in the GST?” Jaitley said.
Talking about the further steps that Modi government plans to take, Jaitley wrote, “Key future actions in GST will include further simplifying and rationalizing the rate structure and bringing more products into the GST. I am confident that once revenue stabilizes and the GST settles, the GST Council will look into these carefully and act judiciously.” He also added that the Council will work towards including petroleum products under the ambit of GST.
“The UPA Government lost the confidence of the States, including the Congress ruled States. In a move towards the single tax system, the UPA asked the States to abolish the CST. It promised the States that it would give them a compensation in lieu of the CST for a certain number of years,” Jaitley wrote on Facebook.
Congratulating the country on ‘GST Day’, Jaitley on Twitter wrote, “1st July 2017 marked the introduction of #GST in India, a historic & game changer reform. #GSTAtOne year has resulted in increased formalisation and greater tax compliance.” The government is celebrating July 1 as ‘GST Day.’