No Single GST Slab, PM Modi Says Milk, Mercedes Can’t Be Taxed At Same Rate
On the occasion of the first anniversary of the implementation of GST (Goods and Services Tax), Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the benefits of tax policy and said that it has helped in consolidating Indian cooperative federalism and is designed to eliminate the inspector raj.
In an interview given to Swarajya Magazine, the Prime Minister dismissed Opposition's allegations that the tax policy is too complex.
The Prime Minister, according to a part-transcript of the 45 minute interview posted by Swarajya on its website, said that it is not possible to assign one slab for all the products. "Can we have milk and Mercedes at the same rate?" he questioned.
The new tax regime, which subsumed central levies like excise duty and service tax and state taxes like VAT, is aimed at making indirect taxation simple while eliminating the Inspector Raj, he said.
Listing the benefits of the tax policy, the PM asserted that GST is not a complex policy as claimed by its critics.
In the last one year, 48 lakh new enterprises have been registered and 11 crore returns were filed, Modi said.
The Prime Minister also highlighted the positive impact of GST on logistics industry as it led to the abolishment of check-posts on state borders thus saving crucial time, resources and money and thereby improving the productivity of the country.
Referring to the problems arising because of the implementation of GST as teething trouble, the Prime Minister said that the implementation of the reform, which merged 17 taxes and 23 cesses into one single tax, required a complete reset of one of the world's largest economic systems.
Terming GST as an evolving system, PM Modi said that the policy is continuously revamped keeping in view the feedbacks received from state governments, people, media, etc.
The Prime Minister said that GST has removed a number of hidden taxes and the rates for most day-to-day commodities have actually come down.
"Government has reduced taxes on nearly 400 groups of items. Around 150 groups of items have zero per cent tax rate," he said.
Later in the day, the Prime Minister welcomed the first anniversary of the tax policy via a tweet by hailing it as a tool that has "brought growth, simplicity and transparency".
"It is boosting formalisation, enhancing productivity, furthering 'Ease of Doing Business', benefitting small and medium enterprises," the prime minister tweeted.