The Congress is all set to keep up the pressure on the Narendra Modi government on capping the goods and services tax (GST) at 18 per cent, and to include petrol, diesel as well as the real estate sector and electricity in the ambit of the new tax regime.
In the weeks to come, the party plans to start an awareness campaign on the “steep tax” on diesel and petrol the Centre has levied since 2014.
On Sunday, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi
said the Centre should stop making excuses, and reduce taxes on items consumed by common people. “To reduce the burden of price rise, government should include petrol, diesel and cooking gas in the GST,” he tweeted. Currently touring poll bound Gujarat, Rahul Gandhi
reiterated the demand that the tax rate be capped at 18 per cent. He said there should be one tax slab, and as low as possible.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said 50 per cent of total revenue stays out of the ambit of the GST if electricity, petroleum and real estate are not included.
“This means that the Modi government can continue to fill its coffers with Rs 2,67,000 crore annually by its back breaking does of taxation on petrol and diesel,” Surjewala said.
During his Gujarat campaign on Sunday, Rahul Gandhi
targeted Chief Minister Vijay Rupani
over the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) slapping fine on his firm for alleged manipulative share trade, and asked the prime minister to speak out on the issue.
He said SEBI has termed Rupani “dishonest”.
"Gujarat is more corrupt than the entire country. Surat businessmen told me that policemen come to their units every two minutes (allegedly to demand bribe),” he said in Banaskantha, on the second day of his campaign tour of North Gujarat.
In Ahmedabad, Union HRD Minister Prakash said Congress leaders are "hypocrites" as they support the indirect tax at GST Council meets but speak against it in public. "I want to ask what kind of uniform tax structure he wants? He is advocating for 18 per cent GST on all items. It means all those commodities that fall under zero, 5 per cent or 12 per cent slabs should be charged at 18 per cent. It seems the Congress wants to increase the tax burden on people," Javadekar said at a press conference.