Millennium Post

Single GST rate slab ridiculous suggestion, says Piyush Goyal

Kolkata: Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday said that the proposal of some political parties for a single GST rate slab was a "ridiculous suggestion".

Some political outfits had been clamouring for doing away with the four-slab Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate structure and the Congress had promised to reduce it to one slab if voted to power in 2019.

"One rate of tax is a ridiculous suggestion. It would be a burden on the poor and the middle class if items of daily use like salt, sugar and clothes were taxed at 18 per cent," Goyal said at an Indian Chamber of Commerce event here.

He said that the past Congress-led UPA government had proposed a 18 per cent single GST slab looking at the tax collections and concessions given to the poor.

"The rate proposed earlier would have not been accepted. Also, the GST structure would have not worked," Goyal, who also holds charges of coal, railways and corporate affairs ministries, said.

Goyal has been looking after the finance ministry owing to Arun Jaitley's indisposition.

"How is it that Mercedes Benz and aircraft becoming cheaper by a single rate. This would have been the worst form of governance," he said.

However, Goyal said rates of 328 items out of a total of 1,200 had been reduced after the implementation of GST in July last year.

"What stops us from elimination of slabs or further reduction in rates on more items is if all the taxpayers pay their taxes," he asked.

India could really be a low tax nation, he said.

Keen to reignite long-term financing in India: Piyush Goyal (221 Words)

Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday also said he was keen to reignite long-term financing in the country and had floated the idea with a large bank.

"I am worried about long-term financing in India after the transformation of financial institutions like ICICI and IDBI into universal banks," Goyal, who is looking after the finance ministry owing to the indisposition of Arun Jaitley, said at an Indian Chamber of Commerce event here.

He wondered why banks are not floating long-term infra bonds with fixed coupon rates to raise money.

"Why the banks cannot float long-term infra bonds for a period of 25 years with a fixed coupon rate? It is a thought which is open for discussion," Goyal, who also looks after coal, railways and corporate affairs, said.

Goyal said that such bonds would also provide a stable income flow to retired persons as well.

Speaking on the lending activity of banks, he said "I had been focusing on the ability of the banking system to lend. We are trying to ensure that," he said.

Talking about MUDRA loans, he said 12 crore people have availed of the advances involving an amount of Rs 4 lakh crore.

Micro, small and medium enterprises and industry projects would start seeing a flow of credit shortly, he said, adding credit growth was already in double digits now.

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