Resolution on GST
(Adopted at the Central Committee Meeting held on July 24-26, 2017)
The Central Committee of the CPI(M) expresses its deep concern at the adverse impact of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) implemented from July 1, 2017. The GST has put new burdens on the common people, small and tiny enterprises, traders and unorganized sector occupations. Industries and services like textile, beedi, pharmaceuticals, construction, transport, tailoring, small newspapers, matches and fireworks also have been badly affected; agriculture and allied sectors are also impacted.
Though the government claims that the GST has brought down the prices of many commodities, the actual fact is that due to the iniquitous tax structure, there has been a rise in prices of many commodities and services. The scale of indirect taxation has been increased. The GST, as introduced, is part of the neo-liberal drive of the Modi government.
The GST structure is weighted in favour of the corporates. In areas where there have been reduction of tax rates, these are not being passed on to benefit the consumers resulting in windfall profits for the corporates.
Particularly unjustified is the 5 per cent tax on equipment used by the disabled, the 12 per cent tax on sanitary napkins, the 18 and 12 per cent tax on food served in AC and non-AC restaurants respectively and the GST rate on essential medicines. Synthetic saris, largely used by women of low income households, have become more expensive with 18 per cent tax on the synthetic yarn.
The GST regime has subsumed the welfare related cess on non-coal mining, beedi, cine sector etc resulting in the taking away of welfare/social security related rights of the workers in the concerned sectors. The cess for clean energy and carbon tax is going to be diverted for SGST compensation fund which will be a big blow to clean energy promotion.
The small traders with turnover above Rs. 20 lakhs per annum have to file their returns online and get their input tax paid by them, which makes it very difficult for them to conduct business.
There is an imminent threat of inflation and all-round increase in the prices of consumer goods. The GST regime has undermined the federal structure which will adversely affect the rights of states.
The Central Committee demands that the government take steps through the GST Council to immediately review and revise the GST tax structure to ensure that all unreasonable and iniquitous taxes be removed or reduced. For instance, the tax on the use of equipments by disabled must be reduced to zero; there should be no GST on the national list of essential medicines under the Drug Price Control order; the tax on sanitary napkins be scrapped; the limit on the annual turnover of traders, who were brought under the GST, should be increased substantially from the existing Rs. 20 lakhs and so on.
The decisions of the GST Council must be brought under Parliamentary scrutiny and supervision. The GST Network (GSTN) should be brought under the coverage of the CAG and the RTI Act.
The Central Committee notes that different sections of the people have come out in protest and strikes have taken place in different sectors since the introduction of the GST. The Central Committee calls upon all its Party units to organize, extend support and actively participate in the protest actions and struggles to ensure that the burdens imposed on different sections and sectors through the GST are removed.