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GST an epic blunder, Trinamool to skip inaugural event, says Mamata Banerjee

Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee says small traders and businesses are not GST-ready. The Centre should rollout the GST after six months.

cities Updated: Jul 08, 2017 18:49 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent< Kolkata
GST,Mamata Banerjee,Trinamool Congress
Mamata Banerjee said the entire business community, especially the small and medium ones, are scared and confused ahead of the GST rollout.(PTI)

The goods and services tax (GST) was an epic blunder and her party, the Trinamool Congress, would not attend the midnight rollout planned for June 30, Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said on Wednesday.

The Bengal government has on several occasions voiced its reservations against the GST that will replace a complex maze of state and central levies, unifying India into a common market.

“After #demonetisation, this unnecessary disastrous hurry is another epic blunder of the Centre,” she wrote in a Facebook post, saying six more months should be given for the change to be smooth.

Though the Bengal assembly gave its all-clear to the GST, the state government says most small traders and businesses were not prepared for India’s biggest tax overhaul.

Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra, who heads the empowered committee of state finance ministers, has written to the Centre demanding the July 1 rollout be deferred.

“Our repeated suggestions to take some more time to properly implement GST have fallen in deaf ears. The entire business community, especially the small and medium ones, are scared and confused. Only 60 hours are left before this ill planned launch and no one knows for sure what’s happening!” Banerjee, who has been at loggerheads with the Centre, wrote.

Essential commodities such as medicines were not available in many places and prices were rising for lack of clarity and mismanagement, she said.

The Bengal chief minister, a bitter critic of the Modi government’s demonetisation move, reminded the BJP of its resistance to the GST.

“The current ruling party at the Centre had initially strongly opposed GST for over seven years and suddenly did a somersault on coming to office as a champion of GST,” she said.

She said small business were not ready with the basics such as invoices, accounting and IT systems. “Another piece of evidence of unpreparedness comes from the fact that the ‘Return Form’ had to be simplified for the first six months as all systems are not in place,” she said, echoing concerns over the preparedness for the big shift.

At least six more months were needed for all systems and procedure to be in place for the implementation of the GST, she said.

First Published: Jun 28, 2017 15:11 IST