Not enough, says Congress on GST relief for small businesses

SansadTV Bureau

Congress-presser-1Congress kept its ante against the government over the issue of GST terming the Friday’s reduction in GST rates as “too little, too late”. The principal opposition party said that lot more needs to be done to address concerns of people under the new tax reform measure.

“Too little, too late. Procedural reliefs will not compensate for messing with the basic architecture of GST by Modi Government,” said Congress communications incharge Randeep Surjewala.

“Huge opportunity of adding 2 pc to India’s GDP squandered away by GST mess amid subsequent half baked rollbacks by panic stricken Modi Government,” he added.

The GST council had on Friday evening made changes to give relief to small and medium businesses on filing and payment of taxes, eased rules for exporters and cut tax rates on more than two dozen items.

Businesses with annual turnover of up to Rs 1.5 crore, which constitute 90 per cent of the taxpayer base but pay only 5-6 per cent of total tax, have been allowed to file quarterly income returns and pay tax instead of the current provision of monthly filings.

Also, the turnover threshold for businesses to avail the composition scheme that allows them to pay 1-5 per cent tax without going through tedious formalities was raised to Rs 1 crore from current Rs 75 lakh.

However, Congress party was least impressed with the central government’s move. On its twitter handle it said, “Ironic that government has brought an anti profiteering bill, but it itself indulges in profiteering with fuel taxes.”

It also tweeted, “While we appreciate the government reducing GST rates in some segments, a lot more needs to be done to address concerns of the people.”

The party said reduction in number of slabs and complexity of GST regime are yet to be addressed and these are critical for economy’s long term health. “This govt remains clueless about reforms, which are supposed to reduce complexity and remove discretion, arbitrary decision making,” it said.

Congress spokesperson Kapil Sibal said, “I feel pained that when someone tells you the truth, you say pessimism is being spread. We want that all the people of the country should get a proper sleep but that is not happening.”

The former Union minister said that it is sad that on every issue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in denial, be it on corruption, economy or people losing their jobs.

(With inputs from PTI)