A delayed GST better than a flawed one, says Jaitley

NEW DELHI 18/12/2015: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley arriving for the All Party meeting called by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari to discuss logjam in the Upper House during winter session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Thursday December 17,2015. Photo: Sandeep Saxena   | Photo Credit: Sandeep_Saxena

Terming three days in politics a long time, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said that during the current Parliament session, the government planned to introduce some reform Bills. These include the insolvency and bankruptcy law for India and the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Bill and Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill

The Minister also indicated that the Constitutional 122nd Amendment Bill, meant for the Goods and Services Tax (GST), is unlikely to clear Parliament in the ongoing session which ends on Wednesday. A delayed GST is better than a flawed GST, he said.

Addressing the annual general body meeting of the FICCI, Mr. Jaitley said that while two of the three demands raised by the Congress on the GST could be worked out, the third wasn’t acceptable. Constitutionally-prescribed rates don’t work for the GST, he said.

The Congress was delaying the GST for “collateral reasons”, the Minister said adding the forces opposing the GST were are doing so because they feel that if they couldn’t bring it, why should someone else. “Some people do get sadistic pleasure in seeing India slow down… But then, it’s a sadistic pleasure at a very severe national cost…We cannot allow that.”

Mr. Jaitley also said that “there is no point saying that GST is good and we brought in the GST proposal, but, I think this ‘but’ is a terrible phrase as far as Indian politics is concerned”.

In the midst of the global slowdown, the biggest challenge for the government is to get the Indian politics to support its economic reforms agenda. “Is the Indian politics going to be a support in this adverse global situation, to add the extra per cent or two to our current level of GDP or is it going to be an obstacle?”

No GST for now: Cong.

Later, Congress leader Anand Sharma in his address to the gathering said: “It [GST] is not going to happen in this session… We will engage with them, but this is not the right time. April 1, 2016, is not sacrosanct and not achievable at all.”

He said the Opposition’s cooperation is not rubber stamping of what the government wants.

“We are authors of GST and this country will have GST,” he said.

Read: >Opposition agrees to clear six Bills as GST is out of way

Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said that when he assumed office, every macro indicator for India was in bad shape: Infrastructure projects were stalled and power, metals and agriculture sectors were vulnerable due to lack of policy with a host of legacy issues such as clearing a number of State liabilities to be addressed.

But the Narendra Modi-led government was able to stabilise the macro economy within 12-18 months, he claimed.

The proof of this was improved tax administration with increased revenue collection and higher tax buoyancy, much stronger budgetary governance with clearly stated expenditure and revenue targets and improvement in the quality of government expenditure, which moved away from subsidies towards public investments, Mr. Sinha added.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 11:03:04 AM |

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