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Punjab FM Badal calls for a fresh look at GST structure

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal on Thursday called for a fresh look at the GST structure saying the current system has failed.

Speaking at the sidelines of the India Economic Summit here, Badal said there is a need to harmonise GST rates with similar goods taxed at similar rates and desist cutting rates around state elections as a favour.

"Punjab has been consistently opposing the design of the current GST. It is actually a badly designed GST," he told reporters here.

Badal further said that states and media were told that once GST comes in tax collections would go up, exports would become competitive. It will actually simplify things and GDP will grow.

"GDP has not gone up, tax collections are consistently going down, exports become cumbersome. Filing of tax returns has actually become a nightmare," he claimed.

Hitting out at the way the Centre has gone about implementing GST, he said, "If I am not mistaken in the last two years we have had almost 4,000 changes in the GST law, changes and amendments for which they have to go to Parliament and state legislatures."

Can you imagine if there was a patient and was operated on 4,000 times would there be anything left of the patient?, Badal asked.

While asserting that states were not opposed to the idea of GST ever since negotiations started and in fact GST was the brainchild of the Congress, he said the current structure is proving to be a loss for states, specially like Punjab.

Citing the example of recent reduction in corporate tax from 30 per cent to 22 per cent, he said the loss in terms of revenue would be Rs 1.7 lakh crore, out of this 42 per cent was the share of states.

"The best thing would be if India could just look at this GST tax rates afresh," Badal said.

Suggesting ways to improve the current GST system, he said, "We would need rate harmonization and similar goods be taxed in similar rate. The GST network needs to be vastly improved."

Taking a dig at the BJP-led government at the Centre for pulling strings to suit its agenda, Badal said, "The arrogance which is there within the council, the idea of giving favours and knee jerk reactions, for example, if there is Gujarat election you immediately cut rates. We should desist from that."

In European GST model whatever decision is taken today it is implemented after five years when these set of people are no more there in Parliament, he claimed.

Lamenting that the country has got it wrong in bringing the GST structure, Badal said, "India wasn't actually the first country to implement GST. There were 160 other nations which did it. So if you had to copy, you need a brain to do it.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, October 03 2019. 18:20 IST