Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has asked the Congress whether it wants alcohol to be cheaper by bringing it under GST and reducing taxes on it. It was the latest extension to an online exchange between Jaitley and Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar.
Aiyar had blogged, “How Congress will block GST” in response to Jaitley’s article “Dissent or Disruption – the Congress Party’s Position on GST”.
In a new Facebook post, Jaitley noted that Aiyar has cited an “interesting reason” for blocking the GST Bill by claiming that alcohol for human consumption is taxed at very high rates by states, due to which people consume hooch.
“If Mani’s blog is to be believed, the Congress party’s position is to make alcohol cheaper so that people do not resort to hooch… Is this Congress party’s concept of a comprehensive GST that alcohol becomes cheaper? Is this amongst the basis for Congress party’s opposition to the GST? I hope the Congress party either clarifies its position or confirms Mani’s view,” Jaitley posted.
Jaitley described Aiyar as the leading dissenter on behalf of his party and expressed a view that the Congress leader represents the views of his party. “UPA’s two eminent finance ministers were not struck by the wisdom that Mani Shankar Aiyar possesses,” he wrote. He had said earlier that the points of dissent raised by the Congress now on the legislation had not found favour with P Chidambaram and Pranab Mukherjee.