PM Modi hits back at Congress for `Gabbar Singh Tax’ analogy

New Delhi: Hitting back at the Congress party for criticising the Goods and Services Tax (GST) by terming it pejoratively as the ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “people who have seen only dacoits around them, will naturally think of dacoits only.”

In an exclusive interview to ANI, Prime Minister Modi said: “Our GST model was acceptable to the states because we were sensitive. The Congress President (Rahul Gandhi) tried his best to provoke people against the GST during Gujarat legislative assembly election last year, why did the people reject him?”

Clarifying Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) stance on opposing GST during UPA regime, the Prime Minister highlighted the loopholes of the GST model which was proposed by then finance minister (UPA) P. Chidambaram.

In an apparent reference to then finance minister Chidambram, the Prime Minister said, “The ‘Know It All’ Finance Minister refused to listen to the concerns of the various state governments and adopted a ‘my way or the highway’ approach.”

“Not only Gujarat, but most states did not trust the UPA Government to be fair with them. They had not paid the GST compensation to the states which were promised. They were also unwilling to provide GST compensation to the states if they suffered losses in the first 5 years. It is only when the NDA Government discharged the liability of the past GST compensation and agreed to pay compensation in the event of loss for the first in five years then the GST was possible,” he added.

He further asserted that the GST model of his government was not opposed by all the Opposition parties and added that only a few, who have been continuously rejected by the masses are making baseless points.

“They not only want to misguide but also indulge in opposing for the sake of opposing. Whether it is Yoga, Ayushman Bharat, SwachhBharat, NRC, surgical strikes, their conduct is for everyone to see,” he added

The Prime Minister further asserted that many people, including business community, have hailed GST and adopted it whole-heartedly. “Being a sensitive Government, we are also taking into account the feedback which comes from people and we are doing corrections wherever required. That is why GST has acquired full faith of people and has made life easier for many of us. People have responded positively as it brings lot of benefits to them and to the economy,” he added.

When asked what benefits has GST brought since its implementation on July 1, 2017, the Prime Minister said: “The number of enterprises registered from Independence until now was 66 lakh. In just one year after the introduction of GST, the number of new enterprises registered is 48 lakh. Around 350 crore invoices were processed and 11 crore returns were filed in oneyear. Doesn’t this show wide-spread public acceptance?”

Launched on July 1, 2017, by Prime Minister Modi and then President Pranab Mukherjee, the taxation scheme aimed at bringing all taxes into a single window along the lines of the ‘One Nation – One Tax – One Market’ goal.

The Opposition, especially Congress party has been critical of Modi government’s GST model ever since its implementation and often accuses the Centre of poorly implementing the tax system, overlooking the small traders and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).(ANI)