Mysuru, Mar 24: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said the multiple tax slabs under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be withdrawn and a uniform taxation system will be introduced in the country if the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was voted to power at the Centre in the next election in 2019.
“The 28 percent GST slab will be removed once we come to power. The multiple rates under GST give scope for corruption and therefore we called it ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’. I believe 5 percent tax rate is a good idea but the 28 percent GST slab is a bad idea. GST was our idea and we wanted one tax but the BJP government opted for multiple taxes that we opposed,” Mr. Gandhi said, while interacting with the students of Maharani’s Arts, Science and Commerce College for Women here.
Mr. Gandhi, who arrived here on a two-day tour of Mysuru, Mandya and Chamarajnagar districts, spent over an hour on the College campus replying to the students’ questions. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, KPCC president G. Parameshwara, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjuna Kharge and AICC General Secretary (in-charge of Karnataka) K.C. Venugopal was present. The students mobbed Mr. Gandhi for selfies after the interactive session.
When a student asked whether the Congress party will withdraw the existing tax slabs if it comes to power at the Centre, he said, “There won’t be 28 percent GST.”
Responding to a question on demonetization, Mr. Gandhi said demonetization gave a massive blow to the country’s economy and job creation. Small businesses were badly hit by the decision. “I totally disagree with the way the step was taken,” he said, maintaining that the Finance Minister, the Chief Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister and the RBI Governor were kept in the dark about the move.
The Congress President said former Finance Minister P Chidambaram “laughed when I called him” to know his view on demonetization. Former Prime Minister and economist Manmohan Singh “was in a state of shock when I called him to get an overview of the step.” It was a badly conceived step. Many economists in India and abroad gave thumbs down to the move as it hit the country’s economy, he argued.