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Rahul Gandhi deserves credit for GST revamp: Congress

Gandhi's immense popularity in poll-bound Gujarat dwindled the list of 28% tax slab

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Rahul Gandhi File Photo: PTI
Rahul Gandhi File Photo: PTI

The party of India gave credit to itself for the Council's decision to cut tax rates on 178 items of daily use, saying the ruling BJP government was forced to do so due to the pressure mounted by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi and the "huge response" his campaign had been receiving in poll-bound Gujarat.

Mocking the BJP on the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Gandhi said the would continue to fight for a 18-per cent cap on the highest slab instead of the current 28 per cent, and vowed that the party would get the job done "if the ruling BJP doesn't". He also reiterated that India needed a simple tax and not the "Gabbar Singh Tax" as he had been describing the tax regime to target the Modi government.

general secretary in-charge of Gujarat, Ashok Gehlot told PTI that the Council yesterday decided to cut the tax rates due to the pressure mounted by Gandhi and the "huge response" he had been receiving in the poll-bound western state.

Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister and BJP president Amit Shah, has been under the BJP's rule for over two decades and the is trying to oust it from power. leaders, particularly Gandhi, have made the and demonetisation, as key issues of their campaign.

Gehlot claimed the Council brought about the changes in tax rates with an eye on votes in Gujarat. The state will go to poll in two phases, on December 9 and December 14.

"It (BJP) is rankled by trepidation that Gujarat will slip off its hands. That's why the rates were cut. The Council did so because of the pressure Rahulji mounted and response his yatras in the state are getting," he said.

Congress's chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala termed the Council's move "installment-based tinkering" which he said underscored the "Chaos within and adhocism" of the BJP-led central government.

Accusing Finance Minister and the government of "paying lip service and creating havoc", Surjewala said the was determined to make the tax regime "flawless".

"India needs a simple tax, not The and people have got 28 per cent tax abolished on several items fighting for it. Our fight for 18 per cent cap with one rate will continue. If the BJP doesn't do it, the will", Gandhi tweeted.

Surjewala demanded that petroleum products, real estate and electricity be brought under the ambit of the He also called for reducing "Compliance burden" of the and added that the textile sector was faced with deep stress due to "distorted duty structure". 

"Adjournment and deferment, rather than decision, appear to be the 'way forward' for this government. None of these challenges have been addressed by the Council. This is owing to the sheer ineptitude and amateurish handling of the biggest tax reform by BJP the government," he added.

leader said that the credit should be given to Gandhi. "There was a pressure from Rahul Gandhi. The went so much viral in Gujarat that the BJP did not know how to deal with it," Khera said. He, however, added that much more needed to be done to extend the relief to the farming community as the central excise on fertilisers was 1.03 per cent before GST, but after the new taxation system came into force, the tax was increased to 5 per cent. He said that the tax on agricultural equipment such as tractor was as high as 18 per cent.

The Council on Friday decided to reduce tax rate on items ranging from chewing gums to detergents from 28 per cent 18 per cent.

The all-powerful council pruned the list of items attracting the top 28 per cent  tax rate to just 50 from 228 previously.

The GST, implemented from July 1, has five tax slabs of 0 per cent, 5 per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent and 28 per cent.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, November 11 2017. 16:46 IST
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