Assam finance minister and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma slammed the Congress party and other opposition parties for refusing to increase the limit for GST registration. Addressing the National Convention of BJP, Himanta Biswa Sarma on unmasked Congress’ hypocrisy over the Good and Services Tax, making references to the 31st GST council meeting held last month.
While delivering his speech in the National Convention, the BJP leader disclosed how while the Congress President mocks GST as ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ outside and demands lower taxes, the Congress state governments oppose any move to reduce tax rates and increase relaxations in GST council meetings.
Mr Sarma pointed towards the fact that while on the one hand, Rahul Gandhi criticises GST as ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’, he keeps demanding that Petrol and Diesel should be included in GST. If GST is Gabbar Singh Tax, why Rahul Gandhi is demanding that more items should be included in the tax system, Assam finance minister asked.
Giving an account of how GST system was prepared and implemented, Sarma said that the entire process was carried out with the consensus of all the states. Every decision of the GST council was taken with full consensus. Referring to that, Sarma asked Rahul Gandhi, ‘if GST is Gabbar Singh Tax, why your ministers were clapping and supporting the decisions of GST council, why didn’t they say anything against in the meetings?’
Himanta Biswa Sarma also informed that during the meeting, union finance minister Arun Jaitley had moved a proposal to bring down the maximum GST rates for most items to 18%, barring few items. Rahul Gandhi has been demanding that GST rate should be 18% for all items, therefore it was expected that Congress-ruled states will welcome this move. But the proposal was opposed by the finance minister of Punjab and then the chief minister of Puducherry, both Congress governments. But the BJP ministers in the meeting took a strong position, saying that it is Congress president Rahul Gandhi who has been demanding to lower the GST rate to 18%, and the Congress ministers had to relent.
In the same meeting, Government had proposed to offer relief to small traders taxpayers by increasing the minimum requirement for GST registration. But Congress opposed that move also, saying that it would grossly affect the tax collection in its states, Sarma revealed. It can be noted that Rahul Gandhi has been accusing the Centre of implementing a flawed GST that has inconvenienced small traders and common people alike.
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In the GST council meeting, the central government had recommended that the turnover threshold for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) registration should be raised from the current ₹20 lakh to ₹75 lakh, which would have provided major relief to small traders. But according to Himanta Biswa Sarma, this proposal was strongly opposed by the Congress party, which was joined by CPI(M) government in Kerala and Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi.
Biswa further revealed that it was because of this dramatics that the Government was forced to lower the exemption limit from the proposed Rs 75 lakhs to Rs 40 lakhs.
Biswa in his speech damned the Congress for its double-standards saying that though the Central government has assured compensation to States/UTs for the reported revenue deficit on account of implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) until 2022, the Congress, who otherwise, goes hammer and tongs about the inconvenience the scheme had caused to the small scale industries were quick to change sides, opposing the relief Central government had proposed to provide in the GST regime.
Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley had earlier revealed that the GST Council has doubled the annual turnover exemption limit for the composition scheme. The council has increased the GST exemption limit to ₹20 lakh from ₹10 lakh for the northeastern states and to ₹40 lakh from ₹20 lakh for the rest of the country, Jaitley added.
Berating the Congress and its President, Rahul Gandhi, Himanta Biswa Sarma asked who was the Gabbar Singh now? “We want to know who the Gabbar Singh is now. This is doublespeak by the Congress and other Opposition parties. In public, they have been demanding that the high tax slab of 28 per cent must be abolished and all commodities should be moved to lower tax slabs. But in the GST council meet, Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the CPI(M) and the Aam Aadmi Party opposed the Centre’s move.”
“Today GST is not Gabbar Singh Tax, but Rahul Gandhi has become Gabbar Singh. Today he wants to loot the poor of the country, he was to snatch the rights of the poor”, Sarma added.
Watch the full speech of Himanta Biswa Sarma at the BJP National Convention here: