GST can be India’s answer to tackle global headwinds: Assocham

New Delhi, Nov 26 (IANS) Industry chamber’s new president Assocham Sunil Kanoria on Thursday urged Indian lawmakers to pass the constitutional amendment bill on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) without delay so as to send a strong signal to investors that India’s economy can overcome serious global and domestic challenges with political will.

“GST will harmonise indirect taxes by doing away with multiplicity of taxes. It will also reduce cost of production, which will be then passed on to consumers, thus lowering inflation,” Kanoria told reporters in an interaction here coinciding with the start of the winter session of parliament.

“More striking would be the display of a political unity and the will to rise up to a national cause. That will be a great positive for revival of investment, both domestic and international, something most needed at this point of difficult international times,” he said.

“If the Congress party or any other national or regional party has some specific concerns, the government should look into the same and address it as far as possible. There can always be a middle ground.

“The stipulation of additional one percent duty should not be imposed and the GST should help country to make one India rather than divide India,” he added.

The Rajya Sabha Select Committee has suggested that the GST rate should not go beyond 20 percent as higher rates could fuel inflationary tendencies.

In response to a question on the debate that has arisen on the issue of “intolerance” following certain incidents, Kanoria said: “The very fact that we are tolerating the intolerance itself is an adequate proof to say that we are a tolerant country.”

Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s new chief said one of the main worrying aspects is lack of appetite for fresh investment which is further discouraged by lack of demand as seen from the latest data showing the slowest growth industrial output in four months at 3.6 percent during September.

He noted that poor rural demand owing to two successive monsoon failures is affecting the economic growth, while there is a real threat of food inflation widening its scale well beyond pulses and onion.

“Recent spurt in pulses and onion prices even on a wholesale price index, spells out an urgent need for a holistic approach on food production and management and how the entire rural economy should be well integrated with the rest of the economy,” Kanoria said.


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