An intense debate raged between the BJP and Congress after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley shot down Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s idea of a single-slab Goods and Services Tax (GST) as “stupid”. Mr Jaitley said yesterday that luxury and sin items can’t be taxed at the same rate as the common man’s item. However, former union minister P Chidambaram supported the Congress chief’s suggestion.
“The stupid idea was the BJP’s idea of having 8 rates when GST was first implemented in July 2017! If the GST Council will discuss tomorrow ‘Ease of filing returns’, is that an admission that filing returns has not been easy in the last 18 months? The truth is filing GST returns has been a nightmare,” Mr Chidambaram tweeted.
“When the Congress President said — as I have said — GST should be a single rate, it means that the standard rate of GST should be a single rate. That’s absolutely correct,” he added.
The war of words on Twitter started after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday hinted that the 28 per cent slab of GST could be restricted to a few select commodities, such as luxury items. PM Modi announced a plan to simplify the one tax, which with its four slabs, has hugely confused traders. He said 99 per cent items will now be placed under the 18 per cent tax slab.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi then hit back at PM Modi, saying he had been jolted from his “deep slumber” on the GST.
The Congress Party has finally jolted Narendra Ji from his deep slumber on Gabbar Singh Tax.
Though still drowsy, he now wants to implement what he had earlier called the Congress Party’s, “Grand Stupid Thought”.
Better late then never Narendra Ji!
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) December 20, 2018
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tweeted a comeback as he took a dig at the previous Congress government, saying it had a legacy of 31 per cent indirect taxes. He called the single-slab-GST idea of Mr Gandhi “stupid”.
The UPA had left behind a legacy of 31% indirect Tax on most items. The GST has already reduced 334 items to 12% and 18% slab. Wasn’t the 31% Tax an oppressive idea- a stupid one at that.
— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) December 20, 2018
The 31st Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meeting will be held on December 22 in the national capital. Topics such as simplified returns, completely online refunds process are likely to be discussed in the meeting.