NEW DELHI: West Bengal’s Trinamool finance minister Amit Mitra found an unlikely ally today in BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, after the latter tweeted that he agrees with Mitra that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout must be postponed following the “hit” the economy is already taking with the currency ban.
On Saturday, Trinamool’s Amit Mitra said at the Times Lifest that the Centre’s scrapping of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes, or demonetisation, along with the upcoming institution of the GST regime will be a “double whammy” for the common man. And the BJP’s Swamy, has been consistently critical of the GST Network (GSTN), the firm set up to provide technology support for the GST rollout.
The West Bengal government, led by the Trinamool Congress, has supported the proposed GST bill from the beginning, Mitra said, adding however that this demonetisation disruption in the middle of preparation for the GST will “severely” impact the economy.
“My concern is the double whammy of the common poor people. It has hit the common man hard. It has been a massive destabilisation resulting in transactional cost (loss) of Rs 1.28 lakh crore in 50 days. It is a complete de-empowerment of the small and medium and even large enterprises…GST will destabilise the tax structure for at least 2-3 years following its implementation,” added Mitra, PTI reported last week.
“We all agree that for GST to come, the state taxes are going to be down in the initial two to three years. That is why GST promises to compensate the states and the percentage has been given as 14 per cent. So when you couple this destabilisation with GST, it will bring down state taxes even more,” Mitra had said.
The GSTN was formed during the UPA government to manage and control the accounting and collection of GST. The BJP’s Swamy has even written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure the GSTN is replaced by a government-owned structure.