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6 July 2017
General Service Tax or Great Harassment Tax?
These days BJP bigwigs are pitching their voices to claim great patriotism by repeating the hackneyed slogan; One Nation One tax. If that is now exhibited as an article of faith, one fails to understand why the Party was opposing the same thing tooth and nail just three years before. Early ruling dispensation under the Congress had introduced the bill of GST. And the BJP, then forced to occupy opposition benches, was calling it a most vicious piece of legislation. It is difficult to fathom what brought about change of heart in the saffron camp.
There is a saying in Hindi ‘Der se aiye, durust aiye’ (Better late than never). However, one wonders why the superb legal brain made it so complicated. In the first place, the claim of being “One Tax” faulters on two counts. There are as many as seven rates of taxes. Why so? It could very well have been reduced to, say, 10 % and @20%. And a diarchy-like system is introduced. One category to be monopolized by the Centre is over 15 million and the other below 15 million to be administered by the States.
Most obnoxious is the proposed levy of 5 % on cloth. Like food, cloth is also a primary need of the common people. One is reminded of the wicked step of old colonial rulers who had put tax on salt .
The law as of today has conferred draconian powers on the Tax Administrator. It is a patent feature of the bureaucratic machinery that it indulges into harassing tactics even if many checks and balances are provided in the law. Here, the law itself has bestowed tremendous powers over bureaucracy euphemistically called as Anti-profiteering Authority. Are the learned lawyers in the drafting section so knave? Do they not know that the ingenuity of the business world knows no limit while designing the lanes to bypass the law?
The law provides that the registered dealers will have to file quarterly returns and also annual return. Why? Can not the clerks in the GST office do simple addition of four figures? It is very atrocious on the part of the Government to have given effect to the new law without having a trial run for a small area and short period.
Under the present schemes of GST. the traders should be prepared for worst kind of harassment. And, at the same time, the consumers for great turmoil.
The Socialist Party supports the protest agitations of traders against the GST. The party will do its best to make the traders and consumers aware about the anti-people characteristics of GST.
Senior Member, National Executive