Goods and Services Tax: Consumers not complaining about GST, only a few traders unhappy: Jaitley

NEW DELHI: Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said that with the government ensuring reasonable rates consumers were not complaining about the introduction of goods and services tax and wondered why certain traders are upset although buyers bear the burden of indirect taxes.

“In the country nowhere the consumer is complaining because we have tried to make reasonable the basket of taxation. So why are one or two traders complaining? Traders don’t have to pay tax, consumers have to,” the minister said, while insisting that the mindset had to change to make the society more tax compliant.

The society has got used to the mindset that not paying taxes is not a wrong thing, he said. “This mindset needs to be changed and a new normal has to be created. If India has to move from developing economy to developed economy then the attitude, mindset of people… it is about time that the mindset also became a mindset of a developed economy.”

Jaitley said that the government needed funds to meet defence, education and health expenditure requirements and said that some tough decisions have been taken to restore credibility of the economy.

“For any economic reform, it is essential that direction of the government is right. No half-baked measures can result in reform. Government which blinks is never able to reform,” Jaitley said, adding that a wider base created by GST will help lower the tax burden and converge the 12% and 18% rates into one.

He said that a single rate of 15% would have put the burden on the poor and equity would have been missing from the government’s tax policy. The GST Council, comprising state and union FM have opted for four slabs – 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%.

“There is no need to worry, some people are worried and hence they are distancing. This a collective decision of the nation, and I believe this will surely benefit the nation. Whenever there is a change, there are technology based troubles,” the FM said.

He also said that cleansing political funding is a “big challenge” but the government is working on the electoral bonds mechanism announced in budget to end corruption.

“There is corruption in politics because of our electoral funding mechanism… There is no transparent mechanism for electoral funding…. Is a very big challenge in front of the country to cleanse the political funding.”

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