GST a Congress Bill, party’s negativism hurting economy, says FM Arun Jaitley

Sunday, 2 August 2015 – 5:13pm IST | Place: New Delhi : Racing against time to get the GST bill cleared from Parliament, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday attacked the Congress for blocking the legislation that it had itself brought in and said ‘obstructionist’ tendencies and negativism were hurting the country and its economy.

Acknowledging that there may be merit in Congress’ demand for 18 per cent rate of GST, he said the NDA government has “not made any significant modifications” to the bill that the Congress-led UPA government had proposed in 2006-07 Budget, “except to bring a consensus between manufacturing and the consuming states”.

“The state governments belonging to the Congress party have consistently supported the proposal. Is it only out of an obstructionist attitude that the Congress has adopted a negative role?” he asked.

The government needs Parliament to approve the Constitution Amendment Bill in the current monsoon session ending August 13 before half of the 30 states clear it and the new regime is rolled out from April 1, 2016, so that a nationwide Goods and Services Tax (GST) can replace all existing indirect taxes like excise and VAT.

However, Parliament proceedings have been repeatedly getting disrupted over issues like Lalit Modi controversy and the Vyapam scam for the past two weeks.

“Since Parliament is not functioning and there is no way to clarify these points before the same, I am constrained to place the above facts in public domain,” Jaitley wrote in a Facebook post titled ‘Dissent or Disruption The Congress Party s Position on GST’.

He said the Congress and its leader “may be upset with the government for political reasons. They may be upset with the electorate for the 2014 verdict”.

“The Congress party should accept and seriously introspect after having ruled the country for the longest period of time, that negativism hurts the country. Should its obstructionist tendencies inflict an economic injury on the country?” he wrote.