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Ministers air grievances over GST

Congress workers protest in Guwahati on Thursday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati: Puducherry chief minister V. Narayanasamy on Thursday said revenue collection in his state had gone down by 30 per cent because of GST.

Narayanasamy told reporters at Rajiv Bhawan here that many people had lost their jobs and economic activities in the state were adversely affected after GST.

"The Centre had said it would compensate the revenue loss. But what about the jobs lost by people?" he asked.

He was flanked by Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, Karnataka agriculture minister Krishna Byre Gowda and Assam PCC president Ripun Bora.

Narayanasamy, who also holds the finance portfolio, will attend the GST meeting at Radisson Blu Hotel here.

The PCC protested against GST near the venue on Thursday morning.

Narayanasamy flayed the BJP government for keeping some common consumer goods at higher tax brackets. He said they would raise the issue along with other finance ministers of the Congress.

"Before the GST was passed, we set a condition that the tax slabs should not cross 18 per cent. The first impression was that there will be three tax brackets. But now there are six tax brackets, the highest being 28 per cent," he said.

Byre Gowda said the 28 per cent tax bracket was supposed to be for luxury items and goods like cigarettes. "But now many essential goods are in that tax bracket," he added.

Badal said the Congress had been demanding changing tax rates of different goods to help the underprivileged and the small and medium sector industries.

"For the past five months, the BJP was saying it cannot change even a comma of the GST. But as people have started airing their grievances and anger over tax and the Gujarat elections is approaching, the Centre is changing its mind," he said.

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