Jaitley rules out single GST rate, says further rationalisation possible

Cornelia Mascio
Novembre 14, 2017

As many as 178 items of daily use were shifted from the top tax bracket of 28 per cent to 18 per cent, while a uniform 5 per cent tax was prescribed for all restaurants, both air-conditioned and non-AC, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said after the GST Council meeting in Guwahati on November 10.

Hitting out at Arun Jaitley - yet again - veteran BJP leader and former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha on Tuesday said that the country can ask for the Finance Minister's resignation over the "failures" in the implementation of the demonetisation policy and Goods and Service Tax (GST) regime. "Those were the non performing assets (NPA) of the banking sector and the stalled projects of over Rs 2-25 lakh crore in the country", he said. In that article, Mr Sinha, who was the finance minister under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government, had criticised Mr Jaitley over the "mess the finance minister has made of the economy" and said he would be failing in his national duty if he did not speak up. The NPAs of around Rs 8 lakh crore still remain to be addressed.

"The method of calculation of GDP is that it calculates the growth of organised sector and imagines that unorganised sector has made a similar growth". The economy after the ill-effects of demonetisation received another blow through the GST. "The damage on unorganised sector would badly reflect but I hope in the future there is some study that shows how these steps have impacted the growth", the former Union finance minister said.

Addressing a press conference - organized by Gujarat-based group, Lokshahi Bachao Andolan - Sinha discussed the impacts of the GST and demonetisation on the Indian economy.

Sinha said that one of the biggest flaw in the GST was that 40% of the revenue stream, including petroleum products, alcohol and some aspects of construction sector, were out of the purview of GST.

Currently, 12 per cent GST on food bill is levied in non-AC restaurants and 18 per cent in air-conditioned ones. "If we bring these under GST, people of India will get relief", he said. Criticising the concessions, Sinha contended, "There are even now multiplicity of taxes under GST".

On Mr Jaitley's earlier remark that Mr Sinha is looking for a job at the age of 80, Mr Sinha, who insisted that he is not part of any "Margdarshak Mandal", said he is still fit unlike those "who give their speech while sitting", an apparent reference to Jaitley, who had sat down in between his budget speech due to health reasons.

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