Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi
File Photo

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday hit out at the Central government and criticised it for poor implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST), saying it's an absolute failure. His remarks came amid spiralling controversy over GST compensation with key opposition ruled states rejecting Union government's borrowing options.

Rahul Gandhi's remarks came in the third video of his new series titled "how the Modi government has destroyed Indian economy" in which he said that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)'s Gross Service Tax (GST) is not a tax system but it is an attack on India's poor.

Taking to Twitter, Rahul Gandhi shared a video and wrote: "Another major reason for the historic decline in GDP is the Gabbar Singh Tax (GST) of the Modi government. It destroyed many things like- Millions of small businesses, the future of millions of jobs and youth and the economic situation of states. GST means economic apocalypse."

India's GDP growth rate dropped to -23.9 per cent in the first quarter of the current fiscal due to COVID-19 induced lockdown. While explaining his views in the video, the Congress leader said, "GST is the second attack on the informal sector of the economy. GST was UPA's idea which professed that there will one tax, least tax, and a simple tax. But NDA's GST is completely different in which there are four different types of taxes and up to 28 per cent tax. It is complicated and not easy to be understood by many. The small and medium businesses cannot file their taxes under NDA's GST. But the big companies can easily file it after getting help from 5 to 15 accountants."

"There are 4 types of rates because the government wants those who have the reach and resources can manipulate the system. Those who do not have reach and resources cannot do anything. Who are resourceful? 15 to 20 corporates and whatever changes they want, they can change under this GST regime," he added.

Congress leader alleged that the result of NDA's GST is that for the first time, the Central government is unable to give money to States collected through tax. "What is the result of NDA's GST? For the first time, the Central government is unable to give money collected by GST to the States. All state governments are unable to pay to teachers and other employees. So, GST has failed. It is an attack on the poor and MSMEs. GST is not a tax system it is an attack on India's poor, farmers, shopkeepers. We have to identify the attack and we have to stand up against it," he said.

In the 41st meeting of GST Council on August 27, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the COVID-19 pandemic is an "act of God" which has hit GST collection and ruled out paying compensation to states from its coffers.

The Centre has given two options to states -- to either borrow the entire Rs 2.35 lakh crore or borrow only Rs 97,000 crore through a special window, which would be provided by the RBI, to meet the revenue shortfall.

On September 4, Rahul Gandhi had hit out at the Centre over the issue of recruitment to government posts, alleging that the Modi dispensation's thinking is "minimum government, maximum privatisation". With his tweet attacking the government, Gandhi tagged a media report which said there would be a freeze on creation of new posts except with the approval of the expenditure department. "Modi government's thinking -- 'Minimum Govt Maximum Privatisation'," Gandhi said in a tweet.

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Free Press Journal