New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday called for relaxing the elaborate and strict GST compliance procedure in case of 80% of the taxpayers making only a token contribution. Its Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, who is a member of the GST council headed by Arun Jaitley, also reiterated the party’s demand to bring petroleum and electricity into the ambit of the GST as it can help in moderating their prices to provide the long-awaited relief to the masses.

He told a Press conference at the AICC headquarters here that the Congress continues to agitate for exempting per se nearly 30 lakh “intermediaries” who work as distributors or job workers and many others who make no effective contribution to the tax revenue. Badal said in the very first meeting he attended in Kashmir, he had cited a huge problem of the job workers of the cycle industry in Punjab who should be kept outside the tax chain if the principal manufacturer pays tax on the cycle.

He expressed happiness over a large number of the Congress suggestions which were brushed aside by the Centre in the earlier meetings form part of the published minutes of the GT council meeting on December 22. The Punjab minister faulted the Centre for giving papers of the agenda items either previous evening or just as the members entered the meeting hall, with large-scale implications on the tax revenues.

He did not spell out the items slipped in the agenda, but indicated that this factored in the council not considering reduction of 28% GST on cement and motor components. He said even Arun Jaitley had to concede to postpone those items for a detailed examination in the Group of Ministers (GoMs) and taken up in the next meeting.

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