Arun Jaitley lambasts Rahul Gandhi: If GST is Gabbar Singh Tax, what would you call Congress’ 31% tax rate?

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Published: November 28, 2017 1:49:13 PM

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has lambasted Congress' newly-elected president Rahul Gandhi for calling the GST as Gabbar Singh Tax.

Arun Jaitley, Centre, Surat textile traders, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, textile traders, GST, Rahul Gandhi, bjpFinance Minister Arun Jaitley has lambasted Congress’ newly-elected president Rahul Gandhi for calling the GST as Gabbar Singh Tax. (Image: PTI)

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has lambasted Congress’ newly-elected president Rahul Gandhi for calling the GST as Gabbar Singh Tax, saying that during 55 years of Congress rule, the tax on common use items were 31%. “If GST is Gabbar Singh Tax, then higher tax rates of 31% should be named after which dacoit?” asked Arun Jaitley.

“All consumers items like soaps, shampoos, paper etc that are now being taxed at 18% under the GST used to be taxed at 31% during 55 years of Congress rule. If Rahul Gandhi calls these slashed tax rates ‘Gabbar Singh Tax, then the higher tax rates of 31% should be named after which dacoit,” Arun Jaitley said in an interview with ABP News. He said that the tax rates were brought down to 28% and further to 18% recently.

The GST Council, which is headed by Arun Jaitley, brought down tax rate on 178 products from 28% to 18% and pushed down several others in the lower bracket, and decided to bring down compliance burden earlier in November. Arun Jaitley had further hinted at more GST rate cuts in future depending on “revenue buoyancy”. He also rejected moving to the single taxation system, saying said it was not fair to put luxury or sin items under the same tax umbrella as food. As India slowly adapts to the new GST regime, the government is likely to merge 12% and 18% tax slabs soon.

Currently, the GST regime slots items under four primary tax rate slabs — low rate of 5%, standard rates of 12% and 18%, and high rate of 28%. Other than this, gold and jewellery are taxed at a concessional GST rate of 3%, while rough diamonds are having a 0.25% levy. The items of daily use have been kept tax-free, ie, either at zero tax rate or completely out of the ambit of tax under GST. Apart from this, an additional cess varying for item-to-item is levied — as in case of cigarettes and luxury cars — on sin and luxury items.

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