Congress terms government’s plans on GST ‘belated wisdom’

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New Delhi, Dec 19 (IANS) The Congress on Wednesday termed as “belated wisdom” Prime Minister Narendra Modis remarks that 99 per cent goods would be at 18 per cent GST and said that the ruling BJPs governance mantra is “leap before you look”.

It said that 100 days ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Modi has suddenly “woken up” to the fact that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) brought by his government was “poorly implemented”.

In a series of tweets, senior Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said the government had scrambled the egg needlessly when GST was introduced and was now trying to unscramble it.

He said GST should have been implemented with 18 percent as standard rate.

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“Government says 99 per cent of goods will be at 18 per cent GST. Belated wisdom. We should have started with 18 per cent as the standard rate. Having scrambled the egg needlessly when GST was introduced, the government is trying to unscramble it! Typical of NDA,” Chidambaram tweeted.

“BJP/NDA governance mantra is ‘leap before you look’, which is the reason for the damage caused by GST to businesses, especially MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises),” he said.

Modi had said at an event in Mumbai on Tuesday that the government was aiming to bring 99 per cent of items below the 18 per cent GST slab.

At a formal briefing, Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that the country had paid a heavy price for Modi’s economic mismanagement.

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“A latest survey by All India Manufacturers’ Organisation (AIMO) points out that traders and MSMEs across the country have reported steady job loss and declining profits since 2014. Demonetisation and GST are among the reasons for the slowdown,” Singhvi said.

He said that the survey revealed that the operational profits of traders across the country have dropped “drastically by about 70 per cent” since 2014.

“It underlines that the job losses were reported at the rate of 43 per cent in the trader segment, 32 per cent in the micro-segment and 35 per cent in the small segment. The medium scale industries reported 24 per cent job losses. This is Prime Minister Modi’s legacy of economic mismanagement and jumlas,” he added.

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Singhvi pointed out that the Congress party has always maintained that the rate of GST should have been 15-15.5 per cent, which is called the revenue neutral rate.

“At best, we said, it could be stretched to 18 per cent. But we were ridiculed then. The Modi government fixed GST rates as high as 28 per cent and 40 per cent. Now after electoral losses, they are pretending to put balm on the affected people,” Singhvi said.

–IANS

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