Prantij: Seeking to take credit for the Centre’s decision to reduce the GST rates on a number of items, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today said he would not rest till the five-slab “Gabbar Singh Tax” was converted into the “Goods and Services Tax” with an 18-per cent cap.
The Gandhi scion launched his poll campaign tour of north Gujarat after offering prayers at the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar.
“We pressured (the Centre), the people of Gujarat, small shopkeepers put pressure and I am happy to say that (Union Finance Minister) Arun Jaitleyji has shifted many items to the 18-per cent slab from the 28-per cent tax bracket under the GST,” he told a public meeting in this north Gujarat town.
“With five slabs, it is the Gabbar Singh Tax, but with one tax, it is the GST. Neither Gujarat nor India needs the Gabbar Singh Tax. The Congress had clearly told the BJP that there should be one tax with an 18-per cent cap and a simple tax (at that),” Gandhi added.
The 47-year-old Amethi MP said the “Gabbar Singh Tax” had caused damage to the small and medium scale businesses in Gujarat and elsewhere in the country.
“This Gabbar Singh Tax is looting the small people of this country. This Gabbar Singh Tax is only aimed at breaking the back of the small and medium scale industries of Gujarat and (the rest of) the country.
“This GST has damaged Gujarat and India. Good that they (Centre) brought some changes in it yesterday. But, we will not stop at this. We will stop only when Gujarat and India get the GST and not the Gabbar Singh Tax,” he added.
The Congress leader said the GST, a landmark tax reform which subsumed a host of central and state levies, needed structural changes.
“The GST cap should be at 18 per cent. If they (Centre) do not do it, we will put pressure on them, and if they still do not do it, we will do it soon after forming the government.
The GST requires structural changes,” he added.
Yesterday, the tax rates on over 200 items, ranging from chewing gum to chocolates to beauty products, wigs and wristwatches, were cut by the GST Council to provide relief to consumers and businesses in the backdrop of an economic slowdown.
Meanwhile, BJP workers showed black flags to the Congress vice-president in Himmatnagar town of Sabarkantha district in north Gujarat.
The 182-member Gujarat Assembly will go to the polls in two phases — on December 9 and 14.