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P. Chidambaram explained Congress's stand on the implementation of GST 

8, July, 2017

Mr Chidambaram said in in a press confrence  in New Delhi on  Thursday that The GST was envisaged as a single rate of tax on all goods and services that will replace practically all indirect taxes. A 'single' GST rate means a Standard rate as well as a Standard plus rate (on demerit goods) and a Standard minus rate (on merit goods). Some goods and services will also be totally exempt. This is the GST that the Congress party and the UPA government had visualized and which I had announced, on 28-2-2016, as our goal. Mr Yashwant Sinha has also confirmed that this was the GST we should have designed and implemented.
What has been implemented, however, is a GST with seven, or possibly more, rates. It is a mockery of GST. When we have rates like 0.25, 3, 5, 12, 18, 28 and 40, and possibly more because of the discretion vested with state governments, how can we call this a 'One Nation, One Tax' regime? The central government should have engaged the leaders of the political parties to forge a consensus on three rates; it failed to do so. A Congress-led government would have certainly worked toward a single rate (with three variations). Furthermore, we would have capped GST at 18 per cent. That was eminently feasible. The Chief Economic Adviser to this government had clearly recommended a GST rate of 15-15.5 per cent and demonstrated that it was a revenue neutral rate. If that report was correct, why did the government go in for rates like 28 per cent and 40 per cent? 
Besides, we are convinced that the administration and businesses -- especially small and medium businesses -- are unprepared or underprepared for the roll out of GST. Businesses wanted some more time and the roll out should have been deferred by two months. The GSTN should have been put through a trial run and the glitches, if any, removed. The numerous requests for rationalization of rates should have been addressed. Businesses should have been given time to familiarize themselves with the task of filing three returns every month. The special problems of multi-state businesses should have been resolved.  
 Former Union Finance Minister said The Congress party will watch the roll out of GST closely. and We will continue to articulate the fears and grievances of small and medium businesses, multi-state businesses and consumers, We will demand that petroleum products, electricity and real estate be brought under GST.,We will press for a reduction in rates. We will demand a cap of 18 per cent.,We will keep vigil over the possible misuse of the draconian powers given to the Anti-profiteering Authority.and We will highlight the elements of a true GST. We will hold meetings and conferences to emphasize that the Congress was the original proponent of GST and we will campaign for a true GST that was designed and advised by tax experts such as Dr Vijay Kelkar and Dr Parthasarathi Shome.

 

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