Idea of GST: RIP, as FMs with contrary views are treated as 'errant schoolboys', alleges Chidambaram

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New Delhi, Jun 2 (PTI) Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday hit out at the government's GST regime and alleged that the idea of GST is dead as state finance ministers who express contrary views are treated as 'errant schoolboys'.

The former finance minister also alleged that the BJP government has notified it as a 'bad law' with 'horrendous tax rates' and it was applied as if tax-collecting officers were hounds hunting foxes and every businessperson a suspected tax evader.

He alleged that the GST Council has been reduced to a talking shop and the GST Implementation Committee of officers the 'tail that wagged the dog'.

'Here is a ten point guide to understand GST: GST started as a good idea. BJP converted it into a bad law. It was notified with horrendous rates of tax. The law was applied as though tax-collecting officers were hounds hunting foxes. Every businessperson was suspected to be a tax evader.

'The GST Council was reduced to a talking shop. The GST Implementation Committee (consisting of officers) became the tail that wagged the dog. The FM treats the GoM as an extension of the NDA and its supporting parties. All FMs who express a contrary view are treated as errant schoolboys. The idea of GST: RIP,' he said in a series of tweets.

Another Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, 'GST laws are clear. Union government can make rules to carry out provisions of GST Act only on recommendations of GST Council. The powers of GST Council who are elected representatives cannot be replaced by officers (GIC or Law Committee).' Chidambaram had on Tuesday hit out at the government over the state of the economy and had questioned the negative growth in 2020-21 saying it is the worst in the last four decades.

Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur hit back saying, 'Dear Sh P Chidambaram ji, Is the Indian economy an island in isolation; have other major economies not faced a GDP contraction? France, Germany, Italy, UK contracted by 8.2 pc, 4.9 pc, 8.9 pc & 9.9 pc. Canada, Russia, South Africa, USA too have seen GDP contraction in the past year.' He said consistent reforms and strong fundamentals ensured India had a swift rebound from a contraction of 24.4 per cent in the first quarter of FY 2020-21 to a growth of 1.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of FY 2020-21.

'Only an ostrich would deny this graph is V shaped. I urge you to shift gears from the gloom and doomsday prediction, here are hard facts. Lockdown saved lives, gradual unlocking allowed green shoots,' he said in a series of tweets. PTI SKC AAR AAR