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GST: Congress cautions govt on exceeding 'reasonable limits' of tax rates

As the GST Council ended its meeting without a decision on rates structure, Congress on Wednesday cautioned the government that it could face problems in the passage of relevant legislation in Parliament if it exceeds “reasonable limits” of tax rates.

“If government ignores the concerns of political parties or if it exceeds reasonable limits of tax rates or reduces efficacy of levy by increasing the exclusion or by increasing diversity of rates, they may face problems and issues in Parliament,” party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters. Replying to questions on the issue, he said the party has not been consulted and awaiting a word from the government on the issues concerned.

“We have not been consulted. Let us wait to hear from them. We do not know degree of consensus or lack of it. Main point is that ultimately all decisions have to be taken in Parliament and all issues will be in the Act which Parliament is yet to pass.” His remarks came at a time when a decision on GST rate was today put off to next month even as the Centre and states converged towards a consensus on levying a cess on luxury and in goods in addition to the highest rate of tax in the new regime.

Only two days ago, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi had pitched for keeping the tax rate at 18 per cent or lower so that the poor are not unduly burdened. Insisting an 18 per cent cap on the GST rate is in everybody’s interest, he had said since 2005, Congress has wanted a GST that is not only pro-industry and pro-trade but also non inflationary for common people especially the poor.

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