Lok Sabha debates if GST is a boon or a bane 

The BJP’s stiff opposition to the GST when the UPA first proposed it has led to a cumulative loss of ₹12 lakh crore, said Veerappa Moily in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday

 File photo of senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily during the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament  
File photo of senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily during the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament


India lost a whopping ₹12 lakh crore due to years of delay in the implementation of GST due to the stiff opposition by the BJP when the UPA government was in power, the Opposition said on Wednesday.

Initiating a discussion on the four GST bills in the Lok Sabha, Congress leader Veerappa Moily said what the NDA Government has brought about in the name of a “revolutionary tax reform” is not a gamechanger but only a “baby step”.

Criticising various provisions in the proposed GST regime, Moily said it will be a “technological nightmare” and the anti-profiteering provisions in it are “far too draconian.”

“Seven to eight years have passed after the erstwhile UPA government wanted to bring the GST bill. Some parties then felt it should be halted due to reasons best known to them,” he said.

The former Law Minister said due to the delay caused in the roll out of GST, the country lost around ₹1.5 lakh crore annually and put the total loss at ₹12 lakh crore. Asking who will compensate for this “huge loss”, Moily said the country was deprived of massive financial benefits due to the “political gambles”.

Moily also slammed the Narendra Modi government for “high as well as too many taxes under the proposed GST system which he said does not reflect the original spirit behind the new tax regime.”

“The one nation, one tax concept is only a myth. There are too many rates, cesses... What you brought today cannot be called a gamechanger but only a baby step,” said Moily.

Referring to the “complexities” in the inter-state transactions proposed under the GST, he called some of the provisions as “retrograde”.

The Congress leader also took strong exception to leaving the real estate sector out of the ambit of the GST.

“The real estate sector generates lot of black money. It is very unfortunate that the sector was not brought under the ambit of GST,” said Moily.

Earlier, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduced four bills in the Lok Sabha to give effect to the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Jaitley said the legislations will have to be passed by Parliament and by each of the state assemblies to turn India into one market with a single tax rate.

Moily said there will be a turf war between the tax administrations of central and state governments after the implementation of the GST. The senior Congress leader said the GST will enhance only administrative complexity in the tax system and there will be “complete anarchy” in taxation.

“Intention may be good but this will land the country in complete tax distortion,” he said. Moily said there was no clarity as to how the tax benefits will be availed by the common people.

He said the GST legislation was an example of how the government is pursuing a “chalta hai” (casual) attitude as there was not enough provision to protect the common man.

Participating in the debate, BJP member Udit Raj said the GST would bring about uniformity in the tax system and be immensely beneficial to the 1.2 billion people of the country.

Raj, a former revenue officer, said the GST Bill has been brought to end the different tax slabs prevalent in different states besides abolishing the cascading effects of the current tax structure.

Under the GST, there will be same tax structure across the country, all anomalies will come to an end and extend the tax base, he claimed.

The BJP MP dismissed the suggestion that with the implementation of GST, the powers of the state legislatures to enact tax laws will be completely abrogated, saying the legislation was prepared only with the consent of all state governments.

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