Critics of the new GST regime say the tax is too complex and the cost of compliance too high.
Critics of the new GST regime say the tax is too complex and the cost of compliance too high.

More than 80 percent of India's 21 million disabled people live below the poverty line.

Critics say new rules to simplify and unify the country's tax structure have added an additional burden to life for many of them.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) imposes levies of 5-18 percent on goods used by people with disabilities. Previously such goods were exempt from customs and excise duty with bipartisan support.

The governing BJP introduced the GST in June in a bid to boost Prime Minister Narendra Modi's economic credentials ahead of a planned re-election bid in 2019.

It was India's biggest tax reform in the 70 years since independence from British colonial rule. The GST replaces more than a dozen federal and state levies. It is designed to unify a $2 trillion economy and 1.3 billion people into one of the world's biggest common markets.

But critics say the tax is still too complex and excludes tens of thousands of small businesses and millions of workers, risking an increase in unemployment and social unrest.

Ishan Russell has this report on the GST's impact on India's disabled.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies