Punjab finance min reiterated petrol, electricity to come under GST

Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal Tuesday alleged that the slashing of GST on a host of items was a "patchwork" for the "ill-prepared" introduction of the tax. He demanded that petrol and electricity be also brought under the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The GST council in its 31st meeting on Wednesday slashed tax rates for 23 commonly-used items. The rates have been reduced from 18 per cent to 12 and 5 per cent respectively.

"Reducing the taxes is just a patchwork for the ill-prepared introduction of GST as there was no conceptual clarity in the first place. This meeting was just a patchwork. "India is the 161st country to introduce a GST like the arrangement, our concern is if we had to copy, it should have been done with clear concepts," Congress leader Badal told reporters here.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has always called the GST a "Gabbar Singh Tax". The GST was hastily implemented without any preparation, he said.

"The concepts were not clear, stakeholders were not consulted and there was no technological preparedness. We have been demanding that filing of GST returns be simplified, and petroleum and electricity be brought under its ambit," the Punjab finance minister. "If GST is about having `one nation, one tax`, such a big sector of the economy cannot be exempted," he said.

While the government has claimed that the fresh rate rationalisation is an attempt to streamline GST and make it more people-friendly, the Congress and other opposition parties have objected to rate cut citing revenue consideration.