I suppose you all know about Gabbar Singh Tax, a term which has been coined by the Messiah of Indian politics, Mr. Rahul Gandhi.
भारत को गब्बर सिंह टैक्स नहीं, सरल GST चाहिए। कांग्रेस और देश की जनता ने लड़कर कई वस्तुओं पर 28% टैक्स ख़त्म करवाया है।18% CAP के साथ एक रेट के लिए हमारा संघर्ष जारी रहेगा। अगर भाजपा ये काम नहीं करेगी, तो कांग्रेस करके दिखाएगी।
— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) November 11, 2017
Now for the serious part, The GST council met on 10th November 2017 in Guwahati and made the much needed revisions to the categorization of products under various GST slabs. There is a lot of confusion around the revisions. There is a concerted campaign about projecting the revisions as a political ploy, as Gujarat goes to Elections. The accusations are both illogical as well as laughable. The reason why this revision is not intended towards the purpose of gaining any political points is that the GST council has been meeting every month after July to examine the implications of GST and to take certain corrective measures. This is a routine process, sometimes the revisions are notice-worthy (like this time) and sometime they are not. The GST council hasn’t made changes to the tax slabs for the first time after the implementation of GST. However, opposition is hellbent on setting the narrative that these decisions are at the backdrop of the Gujarat and Himachal polls.
The GST council shifted 178 items from the 28% slab to 18%. Now, only 50 products remain under the 28% tax slab, all of which include luxury and skin products. The items in the 28% slab that have got cheaper include wires, cables, insulated plugs, furniture, bedding, mattresses, suitcases, detergents, shampoo, perfumes, lamps, wrist watches, and slabs of marble and granite. What has also come as a major relief is the slashing down of tax rates in restaurants. The previous categorization of restaurants based on the availability of AC has now been removed and all restaurants have been put in the 5% slab. Also, the GST Council decided to relax the return filing process for both small and larger businesses. “The filing of the form 3B will continue till March 31st 2018,” Revenue Secretary (Now Finance Secretary) Hasmukh Adhia said. “And we will further ease this form for those businesses who file returns but have no tax liability. We have found that there are 30-40% of such businesses.”
Let’s now come to a fundamental question. Is the middle class feeling the heat of GST?
You may answer this in the comments section. My answer is a clear resounding NO. I too, like most of you, am from a middle class family. And I am quite happy to see the prices of cigarettes, gutka, pan masala go up!
Just wind our clocks back to the pre-GST regime, The middle class was troubled by innumerable direct and indirect taxes, many of which he didn’t even know he was paying. The old tax setup enabled the corrupt to cheat on his taxes and his spine has broken by the triple assault of Demonetization-GST and Aadhar. The ultimate beneficiary of it is the regular service class tax paying honest citizen, like most of you reading this article. The Mandatory GST Registrations coupled with Aadhar Linking have brought so many new people to the tax net who were otherwise milking the system after gaming it at the expense of The middle class, the regular service class tax paying honest citizen, like most of you reading this article. It is satisfying to see that GST is forcing the dishonest and corrupt to file their income returns regularly. The weighted average of the total taxes is much less today than it was on 30th June! The opposition is cherry picking isolated cases and exaggerating them. While It won’t stop its devious activities, it is up to us to see through the deception!
The government however should have realized that sanitary napkins too are a basic enmity of life for half of our population, and I can’t think of any reasons to tax them at 12%. I hope they take a call on it the next month.
We must remember that GST is a structural reform and that it is still in nascent stage. When the likes of Congress go on attacking the government saying that they didn’t get the prices right in the first place, it seems quite facetious. They must remember that when results of a trial are not satisfactory, adjustments are made time to time to the apparatus and conditions, only for the final results to be better than the previous version of it. That’s how the world works. Everything cannot be simulated in advance and implemented with perfection.