Mamata Banerjee said her party “will not attend the GST rollout on June 30 midnight.
New Delhi: With GST being launched from June 30 midnight, not just the Opposition but also the RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch has found faultlines in the much-hyped measure. On Wednesday, the SJM claimed “due care has not been taken to keep rates low for commodities being produced by small-scale industries”. West Bengal chief minister and Trinamul Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee said in Kolkata Wednesday that her party “will not attend” the GST rollout on June 30 midnight.
Poking holes in the Centre’s “sabke saath sabka vikas” slogan, SJM national co-convenor Ashwani Mahajan said while deciding the GST rates “due care has not been taken to keep rates low for commodities produced by SSIs and providing huge employment”. Dr Mahajan said small-scale industries, that include the manufacturers of beedi, crackers, beverages, biscuits, pickles, scissors, confectionery and a host of other items, would “attract higher rates of GST, which is likely to affect their competitiveness”.
He further argued that SSIs “despite disadvantages, have been giving tough competition to the Chinese onslaught. If the new tax regime works against their interests, the influx of Chinese products will increase, causing a huge balance of payments deficit”.
The SJM national convenor noted that a large number of SSIs and traders’ organisations from different sectors, commodities and regions have opposed GST in its present form. The SJM, “showing solidarity with the genuine demands of these groups”, urged the Cetnre “to favourably work to address their concerns for a balanced GST”.
In Kolkata, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said her party “will not attend the GST rollout on June 30 midnight”, saying the Centre was in an “unnecessary hurry” to roll it out. The GST was going to be an “epic blunder”, she added.
The Congress, that has not yet taken a final call on attending Parliament’s joint session to mark the rollout of GST from July 1, intends to reach out to Opposition parties on not attending the special session. The Centre, which is keen to take all the parties on board, has sent a special invitation to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to attend the GST Council meeting in Parliament ahead of the joint session.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley, referring to the opposition to GST, said that “small issues may always arise, but the system is fully geared and will smoothen itself out”. On J&K, that has not passed the state GST bill, Mr Jaitley said the “J&K government is trying to get the SGST bill approved by the state legislature by consensus”.
Meanwhile, traders warned in Jammu on Wednesday that double taxation, in case of non-implementation of GST in the state, “will make essential commodities costlier for consumers” Chambers of Traders Federation (CTF) president Neeraj Anand told the media in Jammu that “double taxation, in case of non-implementation (of GST), shall make essential commodities costlier for the consumer, it shall also rob the state government of badly-needed revenue”.