On one side farmers in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat etc., states are protesting against the policies of the BJP government, and now merchant/traders and manufacturers are also up in arms against the central government’s new tax regime of GST (Goods and Service Tax). Yesterday the local textile industry of Surat city called for a shutdown of their businesses to protest GST, and their shutdown was total; not one shop opened out of total 70,000 shops from 156 different markets as can be seen from below pictures from local newspaper.
After the textile industry of Surat, which has a sizeable contribution in Gujarat and India’s GDP, now on Saturday the diamond industry, another big industry of Surat where around 90% of all world’s rough diamonds are polished, has also called for a strike and shutdown. They have floated a new slogan against central government’s repressive tax regime: “No GST, No Tax”! All these merchant/traders/manufacturers have now decided to go on an indefinite strike from 18th June if their demands are not met by the government.
This strike and shutdown has resulted into millions of rupees of losses already. The industry people are worrying that GST will complicate tax compliance in such a way that doing business will almost become impossible, especially for the small businessmen. They fear that the “inspector raj” in India will come back where the IT officers will get all kinds of excuses under GST to harass them every now and then.
The theory and history of the state makes one thing clear for sure by now that, GST is going to be a tool of massive corruption in India in future. Remember, government bureaucracy, with its myriads of interventions in the market, is the root cause of corruption, and GST is going to be a giant bureaucracy. When farmers, merchants/traders and manufacturers are in distress in India, expecting better days now or ahead is a folly.