Congress vindicated by GST rate cuts: P Chidambaram

The 23rd meeting of the Goods and Services Tax is now underway and is being chaired by Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley

The former finance minister said the step was being taken keeping the upcoming Gujarat elections in mind.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has been calling the government's blanket 28 per cent GST rate "Gabbar Singh Tax", after an iconic villain from Hindi cinema.

"Your elections did what Parliament and common sense could not do", he tweeted.

Earlier in the day, Chidambaram had said that Congress finance ministers would "force changes" in the GST rates in the meeting.

"Congress party's next goal will be to push for one rate: RNR with an RNR plus and an RNR minus", the former finance minister added. "They can not break the back of the small and medium businesses, crush the informal sector and destroy millions of jobs", Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had tweeted before the GST council meet.

Crediting his party the Congress for pushing for GST cut, Mr Chidambaram said "Congress is vindicated".

The Congress has been batting for capping all taxes under GST regime at 18%, a demand rejected by the government. "These recommendations are in spirit of the continuous feedback we are getting from various stakeholders on GST", Modi tweeted.

After the council decision, previously 227 items are listed in 28 per cent slab, but now only 50 items have been left in the highest tax slab. At the meeting, a decision could also be taken on lowering of tax rates food served in restaurants. A host of daily use items like chocolates, chewing gum, shampoo, deodorant, shoe polish, detergents, nutrition drinks, marble and cosmetics, washing powder, baking powder, make up products are set to become cheaper post the announcement.

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