Stating that it was not right to compare Centre’s decision to bring down Goods and Services Tax (GST) to the recent assembly poll reverses the BJP suffered in five states, Deputy Speaker and Calangute MLA Michael Lobo said there was a need to bring down the rates further and demanded nil GST on cement. “The decision to reduce GST should not be related to recent election results. There was need to bring immediate relief to the common man who was burdened with high tax rates. People in rural India suffered the most,” said Lobo, while addressing a news conference in his Calangute office on Monday. Continuing, Lobo said GST on cement should be made nil as rural India could not afford to pay such high rates. “If a poor man needs to build a house he has to purchase cement on which he has to pay 28 percent GST. This GST has to be reduced and made nil for the common man,” he opined. He said that a real estate businessman was not concerned about the 28 percent GST on cement, as he was compensated by way of input tax. He further said that he will write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to bring down Goods and Services Tax rates further, especially on cement.
It may be recalled that the Goods and Services Tax Council on Saturday had reduced rates on 23 items from 18 per cent to 12 and 5 per cent. Several items, including movie tickets, television and computer sets, will become cheaper after slashing of GST rates. Vouching for the Goods and Services Tax legislation, the deputy speaker said that its implementation was not done properly and disclosed that everybody was expecting it would be brought down further. India was one of the few countries in the world with four GST rates, unlike other nations that have single GST rate. As many as 49 countries use a single rate, 28 use two rates while only five countries including India use four rates. The countries that use four or more rates of GST include Italy, Luxembourg, Pakistan and Ghana.
The Calangute MLA said 50 percent of the people in India were still living in poverty and therefore the country could not afford to have one GST rate. “It’s okay for developed countries to have one rate. We cannot have a uniform rate in India but the rates for common man should be reduced to 5 and 12 percent,” Lobo said. Union Minister of State for Ayush Shripad Naik informed that he will take up with the central government the proposal of Calangute MLA to reduce Goods and Services Tax rates for the sake of common man. “I will meet the finance minister and follow up on the proposal put by the Calangute MLA. If common man has to get relief then the GST rates have to be reduced and I will work towards it,” Naik said.
CM clears files himself
Stating that Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was not signing files for some time, Calangute MLA, Michael Lobo on Monday said the CM was now signing on the files. “It is evident that he was not signing (files) for some time. But at that time, he was not well. Now, he has started signing the files. He has understood that the CM has to sign,” Lobo said. Lobo said when the chief minister was admitted in the US hospital and at AIIMS there was no possibility of sending the files to the hospital. “Today, he is in position to sign and he has started signing all the files now. I have seen him signing in front of me 10 files,” he said. The deputy speaker said the chief minister was also addressing meetings with MLAs and officers concerned at his residence. The opposition Congress on Saturday had criticized the government and questioned the legality of CM’s decision to allow the chief secretary and the principal secretary to sign files on his behalf.