Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday hit out at the Congress party and other critics of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), rejecting their idea of keeping a single rate under the tax regime. Speaking to Swarajya magazine on the first anniversary of the implementation of the tax regime, the Prime Minister questioned if milk and Mercedes can be made available at the same tax rate.
Hitting out at the Congress party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) strongman said that the opposition party’s stand of keeping one rate under GST, it effectively means making food items, currently at zero or 5 per cent, at 18 per cent.
Pointing that 11 crore returns were filed and 350 crore invoices processed since the introduction of the GST, the Prime Minister rubbished the claims of the tax regime being complex. He added that the GST had also led to check-posts being abolished across the nation.
Responding to a question on criticism of GST by economists, Prime Minister Modi conceded that there were some teething problems and the reform saw merger of 17 taxes and 23 cesses. He, however, added that the issues were resolved in real time and that the GST “is an evolving system”.
The Prime Minister also said that the GST was aimed at abolishing Inspector Raj using Information Technology.
Meanwhile, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley claimed that the NDA government had the smoothest switchovers in one of the largest tax reforms in the country. He also hit out at the Congress party and its chief Rahul Gandhi, giving a point-by-point rebuttal of the criticism of GST.
The Finance Minister hit out at Congress-led opposition over issues like the use of a single slab GST for India or to bring petroleum products within the GST, accusing them of targeting the Centre.