GST second major attack on India’s unorganised economy: Rahul Gandhi

The Congress leader termed GST a complete failure and urged people to stand against it.

Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi visited Puducherry to kick off the Congress’ assembly election campaign amid a crisis facing the party in the Union Territory, where its government has lost the majority. | File photo: PTI

In yet another attack on the Centre, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is not a tax system but an ‘attack’ on India’s poor and on its small and medium businesses.

Calling upon people to stand against it, he said the ‘Gabbar Singh Tax,’ his own tweak for GST, was an ‘absolute failure.’ He had earlier said demonetisation was the first attack on the informal sector in the economy.

As part of his video series on the economy, the former Congress president alleged that the NDA government had kept four different tax slabs to help big industrialists with means and contacts to change the taxes under the GST regime.

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“This GST is an absolute failure. Not only is it unsuccessful, it is an attack on the poor and on the small and medium businesses,” he said in the video series shared on his social media platforms.

“GST is not a tax system, it is an attack on India’s poor. It is an attack on small shopkeepers, small and medium businesses, farmers and labourers. “We have to recognise this attack and stand against it together,” he said.

Gandhi shared the under 3-minute video on Twitter and said, “Another major reason for the historic decline in GDP is the Gabbar Singh Tax (GST) of the Modi government. It has destroyed a lot – lakhs of small businesses, crores of jobs and the future of youth and the financial health of states. GST means economic devastation.”

This is the third of the four-part series by him on the economy. Rahul Gandhi and the Congress had stepped up their attack on the Modi government over the state of the economy after India’s economic growth suffered its worst fall on record in the April-June quarter, with the gross domestic product (GDP) contracting 23.9 per cent.

He claimed that the GST was UPA’s idea, which meant ‘One tax, minimal tax, standard and simple tax.’

“NDA’s GST is completely different. Four different tax slabs, up to 28 per cent, complicated and difficult to understand,” he alleged.

The Congress leader said the small and medium businesses cannot pay this tax, whereas the big companies can easily pay it by employing a few accountants to do the job.

“Why are there four different rates? This is because the government wants those who have the means to be able to easily change GST, and those who don’t have means, cannot do anything about GST. Who has the means? Indias biggest 15-20 industrialists. So, whatever tax law they want to change can easily be done in this GST regime,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi said the result of the NDA’s GST is that today, the Government of India is unable to provide the GST compensation money to the states. The states were unable to give money to state employees and teachers, he said.

Rahul Gandhi had earlier brought out a similar video series on the situation on the border with China. In the economy series, he had also interacted with eminent economists, including former Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan.

(With inputs from Agencies).

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