New Delhi, July 28: Union minister Arun Jaitley said that a “fundamental flaw” has been corrected in the anti-graft law. This would ensure that probe agencies don’t harass honest officers while apprehending the corrupt. The minister also called the pre-GST tariff regime as “Congress Legacy Tax”. In a Facebook post, titled ‘The Significant Reforms of the Week’, Jaitley said, “The GST Council within a record period of thirteen months has almost phased out the 28 percent category, items remaining in this category are only luxury items or sin goods. It is only a matter of time that the final obituary of the ‘Congress Legacy Tax’ is written.” Also Read - Congress Decides to Postpone Party President Election Due to Pandemic

It must be noted that the Parliament has this week passed the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018. The amendment says that bribe-givers would be imprisoned for up to seven years. The amendment proposes significant changes to the anti-corruption law, ranging from redefining criminal misconduct to bringing collusive bribe givers under the lens of the investigative agencies. “I do hope that the investigators also realise that it is only professionalism and fairness which will ensure a higher rate of conviction. Punishing the corrupt has to be judiciously balanced with non-harassment of the honest,” Jaitley wrote in the Facebook post. Also Read - GST Exemption on Vaccines, COVID-19 Drugs Would Make them Costlier: FM Nirmala Sitharaman

The minister further said that, “The present Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 was legislated in the pre-liberalisation regime. It had not visualised the changes in the economy, when the higher participation of the private sector would take place. It had also not anticipated the kind of risk that it could put honest decision makers to.” The old act prompted the investigators to shack their professionalism due to a wide definition of corruption and loose language of the earlier Act. In the process, honest officers were harassed. The minister also highlighted that civil servants would often postpone decision-making for their successors, to avoid the risk. “For these groups ‘chaos’ and ‘decision making paralysis’ is better than stability and growth,” he added. Also Read - Deploy Resources in Saving Lives Instead of Building PM's New House: Priyanka Gandhi

Further, Jaitley said that the GST on cement, ACs and televisions would be brought down as tax revenues increase. Talking about the services sector, he said, “The net revenue loss which Government have suffered on account of the reduction of tax on goods and services is about Rs 70,000 crore. Since State Governments have been guaranteed a 14 per cent increase over their pre-GST revenues for the first five years, this burden has entirely been borne from the share of the Central Government.”

Due to a significant cut on household items, Jaitley asserted, “There is no better opportunity for consumers to make purchases than in the environment which the GST has created.”