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Single GST rate not possible, says CAIT

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New Delhi, April 3: The apex body for traders in the country - Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) - has said that the single Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate promise made by the Congress party is not possible.

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Talking to One India over the phone from Puducherry, CIAT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said it seems that the Congress has prepared its manifesto just for the sake of winning the elections that is why it has made many illogical promises.

"As far as the single rate of GST is concerned, it is totally not possible because we have upper class, upper middle class, middle class, and lower class. We cannot have a single rate for all the classes. It will be a gross injustice to the lower class. So, there has to different kind of taxes for different kind of people and products," said Khandelwal.

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi released party manifesto titled 'Hum Nibhayenge' (We will deliver) here on Tuesday, which says "the GST 2.0 regime will be based on a single, moderate, standard rate of tax on all goods and services. The rate will be revenue neutral to the current indirect tax revenues of the Central and State Governments and will take note of the potential of GST 2.0 to boost their tax revenues ".

The Congress has also promised to bring Real Estate (all sectors), petroleum products, tobacco and liquor within the ambit of GST.

Commenting on this, Khandelwal said it is also a promise that is very hard to implement.

"The Congress government, if it comes to power, won't be able to do it unless the states agree to it. For example, getting unanimity on bringing petroleum products under the ambit of GST will be very difficult. Narendra Modi government has been trying to bring petroleum products under GST from last one year but has not been successful as states are totally against it. So, these all are lofty and hollow promises which can't be fulfilled," said the CAIT Secretary General.

On the Congress' promise of abolishing the e-way bill, Khandelwal questioned: if they abolish e-way bill then how are they going to track the unauthorised movement of the goods?

He said the manifesto has not given any priority to other problems being faced by the traders.

"Issues like FDI in retail, e-Commerce, National Trade Policy for Retail Trade, better infrastructural facilities in markets, growth and development of domestic trade in the country, encouragement to traders for enhancement in exports are the subjects which should have received the attention of Congress party," said Khandelwal.

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Speaking on the promise made in the Congress manifesto about no permission required for first three years of conducting any business, he said it is quite illogical and can't be implemented as traders have to comply with various acts and rules passed by the Parliament under which different types of licenses, permissions are required to obtain.

The CAIT has begun its two-day National Convention today at Pondicherry to decide the role and strategy of trading community in forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The traders have decided that they would vote in the next elections as a vote bank.

Khandelwal said the trade leaders unanimously decided that the party or parties which will recognise the 'Traders' National Charter' will get outright support of around 30 crore voters who are indirectly associated with more than 7 crore traders across the country.

The CAIT plans to release Traders' National Charter tomorrow, which will be will be sent to all political parties.

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