Indian Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, has defended her actions on inflation handling during her recent appearance in Parliament. The minister compared current prices to rates under the UPA government, especially in the last six months. She strongly defended the GST regime, adding that it hasn’t increased the tax burden on the middle class or ordinary families.
Following a lot of uproar over GST levies, the minister took time to address some of the misconceptions, adding that the GST regime hasn’t levied cash withdrawals from bank accounts, crematoriums, issuance of new cheque books, hospital beds, or ICU. She added that a GST levy was only applied to the purchase of printed cheques but that banks were the ones to bear such burdens. She also clarified that there is no current tax on chequebooks used by customers.
Still, on GST, the minister stated that a levy had been added to the construction of new crematoriums as well as equipment used in it. However, she made it categorically clear that cremations and burials have not been levied.
Before her appearance in Parliament, the GST Council was accused of levying crematoriums, but the minister has now quashed those accusations stating the GST council has no plans of levying burials; instead, it only plans to implement GST on the construction of new Crematoriums.
Matters arising in Rajya Sabha
Speaking on opinions on price rise in Rajya Sabha, especially regarding GST on food items, the minister stated that GST on items like wheat, rice, flour, and curd isn’t new, adding that there was an earlier agreement with all states in that regard. She clarified that all GST levies on food items in Rajya Sabha were pre-existing and that the council only implemented earlier agreements with all states.
She added that some concerns about GST are simply because of misinformation. The minister believes the correct information hasn’t been shared, leading to misconceptions in several quarters. She hoped her appearance in Parliament would help address such misconceptions.