‘Complete Overhaul’ of GST rates: Adhia claims to have been misquoted by PTI

As businesses in India are grappling with GST and the associated changes, news reports today suggested that Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia had acknowledged that the current GST rates structure was a mess and needed a massive change. It was reported that, in an interview to PTI news agency, Adhia had said:

“There is a complete overhauling that is required… it is possible that some items in the same chapter are divided. There is a need for harmonisation of items chapter wise and wherever we find there is a big burden on small and medium businesses and on common man, if we bring them down, there will be a better compliance,”

This news was met with criticism on social media, as political potshots ensued:

This statement was quite a departure from Adhia’s earlier comments on the GST rate structure. Just last week, Adhia was quoted as saying that “tax slabs will remain the same for now”  and “will certainly not be changed” in the near future, at least not for one year. He had also said that “there is a need for rationalisation. Instead of doing a piecemeal reduction here and there, we do need to look at the entire rate of 28 per cent”.

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These statements hinted that he was open to moderation and rationalization, a bit of tinkering at best. But today’s PTI interview suggested that he was now looking for “complete overhaul”.

Now, it has been revealed that Adhia has claimed, he was misquoted by PTI.

PTI has already updated its story and now the headline says the following:

Thus, “complete overhaul” has now become “some rejig”. This new statement appears to be in line with what Adhia had said in the last week. Many media houses have now begun updating their posts as well:

If this is indeed PTI’s fault, as it appears, since they have readily changed the story, this would be another addition to the list of fake news spread by them.

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