Challenges ahead of FM 

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The people in India are being taken for a toss when it comes to taxes. There seems to be a big flaw in the tax system of India which the common people are unaware of. With already reeling under the economic plights and struggling for a jab, the people are now desperately looking upon the government to save them. The union government is on a taxing spree on the people while the profiteers are busy counting money. This has also been indirectly highlighted in a statement of the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman emphasizing that certain goods would become costlier for people if GST on them would be reduced. Ironically, the innocent people till date knew that tax when added makes things costlier and when it is reduced things become cheaper. However, many do not know the mischief that is inbuilt in the GST.

Recently, the Chief Minister of West Bengal shot off a letter to the prime minister asking him to waive off the taxes on Covid supplies. Banerjee, like any lay man, thought that it would make the Covid supplies more affordable for the people as less taxes would mean cheaper prices. She further demanded a customs duty waiver on medical equipment, medicines and oxygen required to fight COVID-19. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to have used his Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to answer the letter. Sitharaman outrightly turned down Banerjee’s demand for GST waiver and rather stated, “If full exemption from GST were given, domestic producers of these items would be unable to offset taxes paid on their inputs and input services and would pass these on to the end consumer by increasing their price.” She argued that the levy was needed to ensure that domestic producers get tax credit on inputs and services and price remains low. She also used the same argument for vaccines, while underlining that the Centre was providing free vaccines to those above 45 years as well as frontline workers and also bearing the GST.

With this, many would doubt the proceedings of the GST. With the Union Finance Minister saying that there is also a GST on the union government’s supply of vaccines. This effectively means that if a GST waiver is granted, these vaccines would become costlier for the consumers, implying that the government is not willing to grant the same. Now, if the waiving off the GST makes the prices of goods go higher, the government should work to rectify this and immediately. Because this clearly violates what a common man understands about the taxing procedure in India. The GST rules must be revised for the benefit of the people, and should be direct, precise and transparent. However, with the finance minister’s recent tweets, it feels like the Prime Minister is in no mood to waive off the taxes and continue with his pro-corporate stand.

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