The government recently announced several changes to the rates of the goods and services tax (GST) for various commodities. There may be more coming as GST is new and it will take time to iron out the nitty-gritty. But what is astounding is how the government has done away with transparency and audit trail in the purchase of jewellery and gems. Was it necessary to remove the PAN requirement for transactions worth over ~50,000? What happened to the so-called digital India effort? Evidently, the ballot box scored over the interests of the nation. Everyone knows that the jewellery industry is one of the biggest converters of not only black money into white and vice versa but also Indian currency into foreign currency and the reverse. To bring this measure just before some state elections and the festive season smacks of political expediency and discounts all claims of trying to bring openness into the economy. That the Opposition too is silent is proof that birds of a feather flock together.
T R Ramaswami Mumbai