Politics brews over GST exemptions


NEW DELHI: Though deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Monday welcomed Good and Services Tax (GST) as a “big decision and a good concept”, he warned that the information shared on execution was “bookish for now” and the real test would come only when it rolls out in July.

Sisodia alleged that the GST Council’s decision to keep out liquor, land and real estate out of the purview of the tax regime “smacked of a conspiracy”. He claimed that this was done because many politicians have interests in real estate. He also attacked the Centre saying that the real estate market is known to be a hotbed for black money. If it is kept out of GST then how can the government say it is fighting against black money?

The deputy CM said this at an orientation for MLAs, before the special session of Delhi assembly is held on May 31 to discuss and approve the State Goods and Services Tax Bill. The chief economic advisor (CEA) to government of India, Arvind Subramanian, was also invited to explain the impact of the new tax regime on traders, services and consumers.

The meeting took a political turn when speaker Ram Niwas Goel saw a “conspiracy” in real estate and alcohol being kept out of GST purview. “I feel the liquor and real estate lobby have managed to get their way,” he said.

Subramanian, in his presentation, said that he was disappointed by many sectors — including alcohol, petroleum, electricity, healthcare, education, land and real estate — being kept out of the GST and saw it as a deficiency. Sisodia added that he had demanded inclusion of real estate in GST through a letter, but the GST Council seemed to have thrown it in the dustbin. He added that “when we joined GST Council a decision on liquor had already been taken.”
The CEA was quick to react saying he couldn’t comment on the political aspects, but pointed out that “you (Sisodia) have the power to take up the matter in GST Council.” Subramanian referred to GST as a “very good decision”, but it needs to be worked on to make it an “excellent GST”. He added that India’s GST will be the best in the world and an example of cooperative federalism.

As MLAs rose to ask questions related to manufacturing, small time traders and merger of existing taxes, Sisodia summed up by saying, “Problems will come and answers will have to be found as we put GST to test, hopefully from July 1.”

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/politics-brews-over-gst-exemptions/articleshow/58901608.cms

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