Modi Govt wasted GST chance to push India to growth: Cong
New Delhi/ Mumbai: The Congress on Saturday accused the Modi government of wasting an opportunity to put India on the growth path through Goods and services tax (GST), saying it had "utterly failed" to address structural issues of the tax reform measure. Congress Communications In-Charge Randeep Surjewala said that GST, which should be a "good and simple tax" rather than a "grossly scary tax", had failed to provide relief to the common man or to the farming and textile sectors, the biggest generators of employment in the country.
"While we welcome the interim relief to certain sections, the Modi government has utterly failed to address structural issues of GST reform through fair and transparent consultations," Surjewala told reporters. "GST should not become a 'grossly scary tax'. It should be a 'good and simple tax'," he said.
Labelling the government "amateurish and vision-less" and "drunk with arrogance", he said it was wasting a golden opportunity to put India on a growth trajectory due to its "ineptitude and lack of comprehension of issues". The stark truth is that the Indian GST rate is now the highest in the world and the 'one nation, one tax' has become 'one nation, seven taxes' and more, the Congress leader added.
Where was the real relief for the people, Surjewala asked, and added that people wanted substance, not soothing words. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had "forgotten" to give relief to the common man and two biggest employment generators — the agriculture and textiles sectors, which are in serious trouble.
"This mammoth opportunity is being lost due to sheer incompetence of a panic stricken Modi government driven by adhocism and lost in chaos of its own making," he said. No relief has been given to the farmer and the agriculture sector, Surjewala added.
Even Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, refusing to share the euphoria of his party's ally BJP over the GST relief, said on Saturday that the Centre was compelled to bring changes in the tax regime as "arrogant rulers had become helpless before the might of people." He said that the country was restless due to the burden of taxes.
"The arrogant rulers had to bow down before the might of people....they (the government) had become helpless after feeling the fire burning inside people. After the GST cuts, the government should do something for the common man. Reduce Inflation, fuel prices and stop load shedding," he told reporters.
Thackeray said Diwali was round the corner when people performed 'Laxmi pujan'. But people had little 'Laxmi' (money) left as the Centre "looted" them by imposing more and more taxes, he said. "An impression is being created that the relief in GST was a Diwali gift to the people. It is certainly not so. Do you consider not troubling people or fleecing them a Diwali gift?" he said.