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FM appeals to Congress for support on GST, asks it to consider legacy

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday pushed for the early passage of the GST Bill, which is stuck in Rajya Sabha, saying that India has the opportunity to touch 9 per cent growth and appealed to Congress to think about the “legacy” it would leave behind by not supporting the measure.

He said a message should not go to the world that Parliament is being an “obstruction” to the reform process, noting that India is being seen as a “bright spot” when other major economies have slowed down.

“It not difficult for India to grow at 8-9 per cent. It is not impossible,” Jaitley said in the Lok Sabha, while replying to a debate on the second batch of Supplementary Demand for Grants of Rs 56,256 crore, which was later approved.

He said the best solution to poverty eradication is enabling the country to grow faster, which will generate jobs and increase resources of the government. “Those who try to create impediments want poverty to perpetuate.... By short-sighted vision, we end up hurting the poor in this country,” he said.

He said GST (Goods and Services Tax) Bill, which aims at reforming the direct taxation system in the country, can push the country’s growth by one and one-and-a-half per cent.

Jaitley said: “I would urge the current leadership of the Congress party also to look at the history and legacy they want to leave behind. Support these measures so that we are able to grow faster. We have more money to get rid of poverty much faster.”

He noted that GST was first brought by the previous Congress-led government and was “unquestionably” the “collective wisdom of everybody... But today they oppose”. Jaitley, who spoke in the absence of Congress, which was boycotting the House over alleged ‘vendetta politics’, said he was conveying the message to the main opposition party through the Chair.
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