By Parvathy Pillai
Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: Opposing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for its alleged negative impact on traders and MSMEs, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) National Convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said GST, which has forced multiple businesses to shut down, is too complicated to comply with. Addressing a townhall gathering of traders and MSMEs in Rajkot (Gujarat) on Tuesday, Kejriwal called for the simplification of GST for businesses to pay taxes without complications.
“MSMEs are the backbone of the country’s economy. While every political party talks about MSMEs but when it comes to engaging or working with them, MSMEs are among the most harassed,” said Kejriwal.
He noted, “GST is so much complicated that many of the small traders I know had shut their businesses due to the tax system because they are unable to understand it. What’s the use of such a system that forces people to shut their businesses?”
Kejriwal’s address to the traders’ community of Gujarat comes ahead of the Assembly elections scheduled in the state later this year. In his speech, he also slammed the Modi government for imposing GST on unbranded food grains and other items like dry and liquid food grains, including packed curd, buttermilk, pulses, rice, wheat, flour etc.
“Only air (oxygen) is left for the government to impose GST on,” said Kejriwal. With traders and MSMEs at the townhall meeting raising concerns about the Centre’s unjustified increase in the GST, Kejriwal said that the economy must be improved before a tax system can be implemented in order for businesses to function and for jobs to be created. He further added that 99 per cent of traders want to pay their taxes honestly but can’t do so due to the complex structure.
During the interaction, the AAP leader made five promises if the party is voted to power in Gujarat, first, the removal of the atmosphere of fear among traders and the business community at large; second, respect and recognition to promoters for their work; third, corruption free governance; fourth, clearing all pending value-added tax (VAT) and GST refunds within six months; and fifth, involving MSMEs and traders at the government level to solve various challenges.
“We will create a body at the government level wherein there will be a representative from every sector including MSMEs. The state government would implement solutions suggested by these representatives to the problems they have been facing,” added Kejriwal.