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NEW DELHI: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi appears confident his party will win the next general elections because he said if the BJP doesn’t reduce the GST tax rate to a flat 18 percent “we will do it in 2019”.
He said he’s not happy even though the Centre cut the GST rate yesterday on more than 200 items, to 18 percent from 28 percent. He also said India “doesn’t need” five different tax slabs and GST regime needs a structural overhaul.
“We are not happy. We want the ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ to be abolished and people get one tax slab of GST. We want only one 18 percent tax slab. If BJP does not do it we will do it in 2019,” said the Gandhi scion who was speaking from the campaign trail in Gandhinagar in poll-bound Gujarat.
“Gabbar Singh Tax” is what Rahul calls the Goods and Services Tax, or GST. He’s implying the GST is as villainous as Gabbar Singh, an iconic baddie from Hindi cinema.
Rahul also said it was the pressure put on the government by ordinary people and by the Congress that forced the government’s hand and led to it slashing rates.
The government yesterday made the biggest change in the four-month-old GST regime, moving more than 80 per cent of the items in the top 28 percent tax bracket to lower rates. A little over 200 items’ tax rates were slashed. Of them, as many as 178 items had their rates cut to 18 percent from 28 percent.
Rahul reiterated the implementation of GST was hasty and tardy and said that the new tax regime along with last November’s demonetisation have led to joblessness and have particularly hit small businesses in Gujarat.
“I went to Surat (in Gujarat) and people there work day in and day out for the country. But BJP has not helped these small traders but has helped big industrialists,” said Rahul.
Like he’s done before, he again brought up the case of the Nano car plant in Gujarat.
“The BJP gave Rs 30,000 crore to Nano and we (instead) spent Rs 35,000 crore on MANREGA,” said the Congress vice president referring to the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.