The BJP government has a penchant for catchy slogans, taglines and acronyms but it turns to UPA schemes to lend some credibility to itself with the GST being a clear example of this, the Congress today claimed. Dubbing GST as “Goods and Services Tamasha”, the party in an article on its website said lack of preparation around the rollout of the tax reform seems very similar to the decision of demonetisation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “It is not well planned, infrastructure has not been placed for it and it will cause untold misery to the common man,” the article said. The article titled ‘The Unprepared GST’ said, “The BJP government has a penchant for catchy slogans, taglines and acronyms. But regrettably that is where their cleverness in public policy ends. Devoid of any originality, they often turn to UPA schemes to paint their government with some modicum of credibility. The GST is a clear example of this.”
It said Modi was one of the most vocal opponents of the GST when he was the Gujarat chief minister, yet after becoming prime minister he did a volte-face. “In his desire to emulate the UPA’s vision, he seems to have missed the mark,” it said. The Congress further said that what Modi forgot was that the GST was envisaged as a ‘single rate of tax’ but what the BJP implemented is “a mockery of this”. “We have multiple rates like 0.25, 3, 5, 12, 18, 28 and 40 pc, and possibly more because of the discretion vested with state governments. The UPA government would have capped the rate at 18 pc, incidentally a similar rate was suggested by the Modi government’s own chief economic advisor, who recommended a rate of 15.5 pc,” he said.
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The write-up also says that the confusion around GST has even extended to government departments and tenders worth around Rs 200 crore have been stuck in the Jaipur Municipal Corporation as neither JMC officials nor contractors know exactly what GST rate would be applicable on tender bills. In the prime minister’s home state of Gujarat, it said, protesting traders were baton charged by the police even as there were protests in Delhi.
“The software, which will be used to ensure smooth functioning of GST has not been tested. All of this adds to the confusion across the country. But what we have at the helm is an uncaring government that is not willing, or maybe even able, to explain the processes around GST,” the Congress said.