The entire country is gung-ho over the GST being passed in the monsoon session in parliament and sadly rising prices of basic necessities which has hit the roof has been overshadowed in the bargain. Today petrol is cheaper than milk, ‘Tur Dal’ has become unaffordable for the poor, high service tax rates on daily utilities like TV viewing, phone usage etc getting costlier each passing day making it difficult for citizens to survive. (Service tax which is 12.5 per cent could rise to over 20 per cent making all services like phone, LIC premiums etc costly)
Experts believe that inflation rises during initial years of GST regimen which could mean a disaster for the citizens in today’s time where the government is finding it difficult to contain price rise. Is the timing then wrong to introduce GST could be a matter of debate. But GST has its advantages like single tax regime, preventing black-marketing etc and the government needs to balance out the pros and cons of the system before introducing it so that inflationary trends can be contained in the short run. Utilities used by the poor could be exempted or taxed at lower rates so that inequality can be reduced. Food inflation indeed is a serious issue affecting the country and Prime Minister Modi and his cabinet should look into containing prices of necessities on a war footing basis before GST becomes a law in the country!
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)