GST cut, and the way the khakhra crumbles

Officials explain GST

Reduced tax on the cracker and other savouries is said to be BJP’s attempt to swing the Gujarat Assembly polls in its favour

The decisions of the Goods and Services Tax Council on Friday to lower the tax slabs for 27 broad categories of goods and provide relief for small traders by changing the frequency of e-filing from monthly to quarterly have got the thumbs-up from the Bharatiya Janata Party.

In Gujarat, which is going to the polls later this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi especially referred to the reduction of GST on the traditional snack of khakhra and other savouries of the State from 12% to 5%. The exemptions given to yarns used for nylon and polyester, viscose and rayon and man-made fibres were good news for textile hubs in the State. The relief on waste glass was important for the glass industry in Vadodara. The relief in e-filing is also aimed at the BJP’s traditional base among traders.

The BJP’s increasing shift in political rhetoric to rural and agricultural communities had been making its traditional strongholds of traders jittery. Monthly e-filing was weighing on them heavily. “With these moves, we are convinced that any hard feelings will now be over,” a senior party leader said.

 Traders’ response

In a statement, Praveen Khandelwal, secretary of the Confederation of All India Traders and treasurer of the Delhi unit of the party, said: “Enabling composition dealers to make inter-State sales is a bold decision, and will allow traders to remain competitive.”

“Increase in the composition scheme up to ₹1 crore, deferment of e-way bill and reverse charge mechanism will boost business sentiment in the country. Quarterly return for persons having an annual turnover of up to ₹1.5 crore will give much relief to small traders and take off the load of monthly tax compliance,” he said.

PTI adds:

It’s not a Deepavali gift, says Uddhav

Mumbai – Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday said the Centre was compelled to bring changes in the GST regime as “arrogant rulers had become helpless before the might of people”. “The arrogant rulers had to bow down before the might of people … they [the government] had become helpless after feeling the fire burning inside people. After the GST cuts, the government should do something for the common man,” he said. “An impression is being created that the GST relief was a Deepavali gift. It is certainly not so.” he said.

GST rationalisation will continue, says Shukla

New Delhi – The GST Council will continue to rationalise rates, and the highest tax slab of 28% will be gradually brought down, Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla said here on Saturday. The GST Council has taken steps to rationalise rates in the recent past, and the trend would continue,” Mr. Shukla was quoted in a statement by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Too little, too late: CPI

New Delhi – Communist Party of India general secretary S. Sudhakar Reddy on Saturday criticised the GST relief concessions, calling them “too little and too late.” Mr. Reddy accused the government of resorting to a gimmick and pointed out that eight out of 27 items in which the relief had been given exist only in Gujarat. “This is a gimmick with an eye on elections in Gujarat. Reducing excise duty on petrol and diesel is also an election tactic,” he said.

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