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Govt failed to address structural issues in GST: Congress

Govt failed to address structural issues in GST: Congress

New Delhi, Oct 7 (UNI) The Congress on Saturday accused the National Democratic Alliance government of failing to address the structural issues of Goods and Services Tax (GST) reform. Addressing a press conference here, party spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said though some relief had been provided by the government through measures announced on Friday, they were interim ones and meant for certain sections only. "We welcome the interim relief... The government has utterly failed to address structural issues of GST reform through fair and transparent consultations," Mr Surjewala said. Accusing the government of messing up the conception of GST and its implementation, he said the "One Nation, One Tax" has become "One Nation, Seven Taxes" or more. "Indian GST rate is now the highest in the entire world. Even the Chief Economic Adviser to this government had recommended the GST rate of 15 per cent to 15.25 per cent as the revenue neutral rate," he said. He said the government has still not laid down any road map for bringing petroleum products, electricity and real estate within the ambit of GST. The Congress spokesman also accused the government of putting massive taxes on goods of mass consumption. Facing severe criticism over the implementation of GST, the government on Friday announced a slew of measures to ease the concerns of traders, exporters and small business while slashing the rates on 27 items of common consumption. Among the structural or design issues is the decision to exclude major fossil fuels (petrol/ gasoline, diesel, ATF, natural gas and crude petroleum) and electricity from the GST which could lead to substantial cascading of taxes. This is feared to affect the competitiveness of domestic industries in the international market. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has demanded that the government make five changes to the GST structure, including bringing petrol and diesel under the tax regime. UNI JPG SRJ 1619

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