Keeping up his attack on the government over the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said his party will not allow imposition of the “Gabbar Singh Tax” and asked the Centre to do some course correction shedding “arrogance”. Taking to Twitter, he also said that the government cannot break the back of small and medium size enterprises in the country, crush the informal sector and destroy millions of jobs. Gandhi’s remarks come in the wake of the GST Council meeting held in Guwahati where it was decided that tax rate on a wide range of mass use items would be reduced. “We will not allow BJP to impose a Gabbar Singh Tax on India. They cannot break the back of the small and medium businesses, crush the informal sector and destroy millions of jobs.
#GSTCouncilMeet,” Gandhi tweeted. He suggested the government to give the country a “genuine simple tax”. The government, he said, should not “waste time” of the country by allegedly engaging in lip service. “… acknowledge your incompetence, shed your arrogance and listen to the people of India,” he said on the micro-blogging site. Talking to reporters here, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi sought to find “flaws” in the GST, saying it cannot be a “one nation, one tax” if 40 per cent to 45 per cent of the goods or services are kept out of its ambit. He questioned the timing of the GST Council meeting, which he said, took place ahead of the Gujarat assembly polls (scheduled to be held on December 9 and December 14).
Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government, Singhvi said the Centre has been going about implementing the GST “without thinking first”. “The prime minister and his government first shoot, then they aim and then think, be it on the issues of demonetisation or GST. And that is exactly what is happening in case of GST,” he added. He alleged the “noble conception” of GST has been distorted. He accused the government of not addressing real concerns relating to the tax regime because of its “arrogance and rhetoric”.
“The anomalies need proper application of mind (to be solved) and not arrogance,” he said. The GST Council decided to reduce tax rate on items ranging from chewing gums to detergents — to 18 per cent from current 28 per cent. The all-powerful council pruned the list of items attracting the top 28 per cent tax rate to just 50 from 227 previously. In effect, the council cut rates on 177 goods. The GST, implemented “from July 1, has five tax slabs of 0 per cent, 5 per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent and 28 per cent.