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Till Yesterday, One Slab GST Was Stupid, Today It Is A Great Idea: Chidambaram To PM Modi

Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday raised questions about what caused the change in the "declared goals" of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, why it was being changed.

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Till Yesterday, One Slab GST Was Stupid, Today It Is A Great Idea: Chidambaram To PM Modi
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Till Yesterday, One Slab GST Was Stupid, Today It Is A Great Idea: Chidambaram To PM Modi
outlookindia.com
2018-12-26T11:38:45+05:30

Launching a scathing attack on the Narendra Modi government, former finance minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday raised questions about what caused the change in the "declared goals" of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, why it was being changed.

Shooting a series of tweets, Chidambaram said: "Until yesterday a single standard rate of GST was a stupid idea. Since yesterday, it is the declared goal of the government!

"Until yesterday capping GST at 18 per cent was impracticable. Since yesterday, the Congress party's original demand of an 18 per cent cap is the declared goal of the government!

"Until yesterday, the Chief Economic Adviser's RNR report to fix the standard rate at 15 per cent was in the dustbin. Yesterday it was retrieved and placed on the FM's table and was promptly accepted!" the senior Congress leader said in a series of tweets.

The former Union Minister's tweets came barely two days after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday hinted that the country might eventually have a single standard rate of GST, adding that the 28 per cent slab would soon be phased out, except on luxury and "sin goods".

In a Facebook post titled 'Eighteen Months of GST', Jaitley said, of the 1,216 commodities which are used at present, broadly 183 are taxed at zero rate, 308 at 5 per cent, 178 at 12 per cent and 517 at 18 per cent.

“The 28 per cent slab is now a dying slab,” he said. Currently, 28 items, including luxury and sin goods, auto parts, dishwashers, air conditioners (ACs) and cement remain in the highest slab of 28 per cent.

“With the GST transformation completed, we are close to completing the first set of rates of rationalisation i.e. phasing out the 28 per cent slab except in luxury and sin goods,” he said.

Dismissing the criticism of GST as ill-informed and motivated, Jaitley said the new indirect tax regime has led to lower taxes, lower inflation and reduced evasion.

"Lower rate of taxes, increased tax base, higher collections, easy for trade and least interface in assessments with a significant part of the tax rationalisation over, the growth percentage in the years to come will increase," he said.

Jaitley's GST blog came a fortnight after electoral verdicts in three Hindi heartland states -- Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan -- did not go the Bharatiya Janata Party's way, and months ahead of the 2019 general elections.

(With inputs from agencies)


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