Govt cut GST rates with eye on assembly polls, says Chidambaram
New Delhi, Jul 22: Congress leader P Chidambaram took a dig at the government for reducing GST rates on nearly 100 items ahead of assembly elections in four states, saying holding frequent polls is good for the people.
In a series of tweets, Chidambaram said the present Goods and Services Tax regime is still "unreformed" and the government must notify three rates immediately and signal its intention to move to a single rate in the medium term, which will be the true GST. "When elections are around the corner, government cuts rates. I suppose that makes a good case for frequent elections in different states!," he said.
"The GST Council cuts rates on 100 items, approves quarterly returns. Belated wisdom. Why did Government not follow our advice in July 2017? "There are many other lacunae in the GST law. I doubt if the government has the will or the skill to remove these lacunae," he said. The GST Council in its 28th meeting yesterday approved rate reductions for 88 consumer-centric items such as cosmetics, refrigerators, washing machines, and small screen televisions, and cleared the widely demanded exemption on sanitary napkins.
Assembly elections are due in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram later this year. When the GST council reduced the number of items attracting the top 28 per cent tax rate to just 50 from 228 in November last year, Chidambaram had said the decision had been taken to further the chances of the BJP in Gujarat where the election was due then.
"Thank you Gujarat. Your elections did what Parliament and common sense could not do," he had tweeted then.