At a time when the Modi government is speaking highly of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Om Prakash Dhurve, BJP Minister from Madhya Pradesh, has said that he is unaware about GST. He added that not only him but even chartered accountants, traders too are finding GST very complicated. According to him, if professionals themselves lack thorough knowledge about GST how can leaders understand it? Dhurve added that he will gain knowledge about GST after things get streamlined. GST which was introduced in July this year was touted as India’s biggest tax reform to replace various taxes and bring the entire nation under single tax. However, traders and opposition leaders have criticised the manner in which the legislation was hastily introduced by the government without carrying out proper homework.
Traders have already raised their concern about the compliance burden. Initially they had faced several obstacles while filing GST returns due to technical glitches. The system was unable to cope up with the massive data being uploaded on GSTN portal. Traders are also worried as they will be punished if chartered accountants commit any error while filing returns. Even voters from Modi’s constituency Varanasi are unhappy with GST and demonetisation. Opposition parties have said that the GST has affected India’s economic growth as many people have been rendered jobless. Even the common men have to bear the brunt of GST as various commodities and services have already become expensive.
When AV spoke to Dilawar Khan, a businessman, he said, “The government should have created awareness among people about GST. I am a businessman and the materials which are procured by me have different rates of GST applicable to them. I have to create separate invoice for them. They are changing the norms every month, therefore, it is causing huge inconvenience to traders. While assigning any work, I have to apply GST rates but many of my clients don’t have GST number. I have to compulsorily visit my CA every month. Small businessmen are affected due to GST. The common men too are facing hardship as whatever amount is paid by him is not recovered by him.”
Bhaskar Jadhav, NCP MLA said, “Yashwant Sinha, Shatrughan Sinha, Murli Manohar Joshi and L.K. Advani have already criticised the policies of Modi government. What did the government achieve through demonetisation and GST? When the government had introduced GST, they had promised to keep the slab rates between 18 per cent to 28 per cent, but the rates reached 45 per cent for some of the commodities. Prime Minister thinks that he is aware about economics and financial management but leaders from his own party are criticising his government’s policies.”
Madan Yerawar, Minister of State for Tourism said, “GST was discussed during Congress reign but NDA government has passed it. Even though people might be facing some difficulties due to GST but it will pave way for the nation’s economic growth.”
Dr Shilpa Ambekar said, “Medicines and medical equipment have become expensive after the introduction of GST. We can’t charge it from patients but we have to pay GST. There is no clarity about what rates will be applicable to which services.”
Aslam Shaikh, Congress MLA said, “The government has applied GST rates as per its own whims and fancies without consulting stakeholders. They keep on changing the GST rates for various commodities everytime which is further creating confusion. Even many leaders of BJP are criticising the government’s policies.”