Changes in GST an eyewash, says Oppn

Changes in GST an eyewash, says Oppn

Opposition parties see amendments to the Goods and Services Tax, announced by the Narendra Modi government late on Friday night, as an “eyewash”, done with an eye on the elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

The Congress welcomed the “interim relief” granted to some sections under the new GST regime, but was critical of the postponement and deferment of provisions such as the implementation of tax deduction at source, tax collection at source, reverse charge mechanism and the tax refund system.

“They have decided to tide over one more election,” Randeep Singh Surjewala, AICC’s in-charge of the communication department, said, adding that the changes to the GST regime had failed to provide any relief to the farming and textile sectors, considered the biggest job creators in the country.

Surjewala said the decision of the government to bring agricultural equipment under the GST regime has caused distress to farmers.

“Many agrarian states had zero tax on various farm implements, but under the GST regime the government has levied a steep 12% tax on them,” he said.

“GST should not become a ‘grossly scary tax’. It should be a ‘good and simple tax’,” he told reporters.

The Congress said a mammoth opportunity to transform the economy was lost due to sheer incompetence of a panic-stricken Modi government.

Rebel JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav also said the amendments were merely an eyewash because people were out to criticise the government’s policies.

“After demonetisation and GST, production of industries, sale and purchase by traders and other businesses have been reduced to the extent from 20% to 80%,” Yadav said, adding that the most affected sector has been real estate, due to which a large number of labourers have returned to their villages.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the amendments to GST were an acknowledgement of the failure by the government, which has failed to take any meaningful steps.

“We have been warning about the mess created by an incompetent government on the GST rollout. Finally, it acknowledges failure, but no meaningful steps have been initiated,” he said.

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