FM hits back, asks Delhi CM to end VAT on gold first


NEW DELHI: Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Monday hit back at Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, asking the Aam Aadmi Party government to first abolish value added tax on gold.

“I have read Chief Minister of National Capital Territory comments that luxury goods like gold should not be taxed. I will welcome it if Delhi first abolishes VAT on gold,” he said, addressing CII’s annual session.

 While Kejriwal supported jewellers’ demand for withdrawal of 1 per cent excise duty on gold, the Delhi government levied tax on essential goods such as skimmed milk and every alternate food product even mithai, the FM said. Gold traders, jewellers and artisans have been on strike since March 2, demanding roll-back of the budget proposal saying that it has impacted their business.

“The larger impact is going to be, if I keep a luxury item out of the proposed GST, then the standard rate of the GST itself will have to go up. Then for us to maintain that rate between 16 and 18 per cent will become extremely difficult if the luxury goods are to be kept out of the GST itself and therefore the debate has to mature to see what is the impact of each of steps on the larger interest of the economy itself,” Jaitley argued.

 In his address, the minister also said that Indian industry is fighting a battle of credibility and asked the corporate sector to adopt positive and ethical approach towards NPAs or bad debts. “Indian industry is also fighting a major battle for its own credibility. Some recent events haven’t added to their credibility,” he said, without naming Mallya who has defaulted on Rs 9,000 crore loan and has gone to the UK.

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