Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday denied the Congress party’s claim that the government had reduced the tax rate on 178 goods because of pressure from the Opposition, PTI reported. He said the rationalisation of the Goods and Services Tax rates had been “in the works” for three to four months.
“It is a good thing that after pressure from Congress and the people of the country, the BJP government has brought many items from under 28% to the 18% tax bracket,” Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi had said at a rally in poll-bound Gujarat on Saturday. Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram had tweeted “thank you Gujarat” on Friday, implying that tax rates were reduced keeping in mind the upcoming elections in the state.
Jaitley on Monday said it was “juvenile politics” to link the decision to cut GST rates to elections. He said the GST Council had made all decisions with consensus on the recommendation of the Fitment Committee.
The finance minister also rejected Gandhi’s demand for a single 18% tax slab for all goods. Although Jaitley admitted there was scope for further rationalisation of tax rates, he said this would be decided by revenues accrued from the GST.