1. GST rollout: Congress decision to skip India’s new ‘tryst with destiny’ in Parliament is self-defeating; here’s why

GST rollout: Congress decision to skip India’s new ‘tryst with destiny’ in Parliament is self-defeating; here’s why

GST rollout: Congress has decided not to attend the midnight launch of Goods and Services Tax in Parliament tomorrow.

By: | New Delhi | Updated: June 29, 2017 4:24 PM
gst launch, goods and services tax, gst congress, gst midnight launch, gst congress, gst roll out, manmohan singh, gst manmohan singh, congress, congress gst, bjp gst, Former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh, second left, Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar, left and Congress party president Sonia Gandhi, center left, accompany former Lower House speaker of Indian Parliament Meira Kumar, center right, as she walks to file her nomination papers for the president election at the parliament house in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Kumar is the opposition candidate for the Presidential election scheduled be held next month. (AP Photo)

GST rollout: Congress has decided not to attend the midnight launch of Goods and Services Tax in Parliament tomorrow. The Congress decision, however, is surprising as the GST is considered to be the brainchild of the party. The GST Bill had come for consideration in the Parliament for the first time during Congress-led UPA government. The Bill was opposed by the BJP then and the Congress rightly accused the BJP of backtracking from its original stand for pushing GST when it came to power.

Last year, when the GST Act was passed in the Rajya Sabha, Congress MP from Rajasthan Narendra Budania had said the BJP protested against GST when the Congress brought the Bill to the Parliament. The Congress even asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to apologise to the nation for his “U-turn” on GST Bill. Several BJP allies including Shiv Sena MP Anil Desai and Shiromani Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral had then hailed the GST Bill as the “brainchild” of Manmohan Singh.

The GST was first conceptualised during the then BJP Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2000. Vajpayee had set up a committee headed by then West Bengal finance minister Asim Dasgupta of the CPI-M to design a GST model. The Dasgupta committee was also asked to put in place the required back-end technology and logistics for the implementation of the GST across the country. Again in 2003, Vajpayee government had formed Vijay Kelkar committee to recommend tax reforms.

In the 2005 Budget, then Finance Minister P Chidambaram had talked about the need to move to the GST regime. In 2006, Chidambaram had set the 2010 deadline for GST rollout. The GST Bill was tabled by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is now the President, in Parliament for the first time in 2011. This was opposed by the BJP along with the Left. For around three years, the Congress battled the GST debate against the BJP and other parties in and outside the Parliament. Interestingly, Modi had also opposed the GST as the then Gujarat CM in 2013.

In the last one year,  Congress-BJP relation has apparently gone from bad to worse. The Grand Old Party now appears to be in no mood to give any credit to the Modi government. However, the way it has decided to do so may not prove politically fruitful in the long run.

GST Act was approved by the Parliament unanimously last year. Since the, all states of the countries have participated in discussions on tax slabs and implementation of the path-breaking tax law.

Modi government had invited Singh and another former PM, HD Devegowda, to share the stage with PM Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee during the midnight launch. With Congress’ short-sighted decision, Singh would miss the chance to see-through the historic launch of GST. Ironically, Singh had not only pushed for the GST when he was in power but also helped BJP to do so by setting up a meeting between PM Modi and Congress president Sonia Gandhi in November 2015.

The GST glory was all for the Congress to corner. But by deciding to skip the meeting, the Congress appears to have scored a self-goal. That too when the Congress keeps accusing Modi government of taking credit of schemes originally introduced by the UPA government.

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  1. C
    Chander Pal
    Jun 29, 2017 at 8:52 pm
    In 1970-71 the income tax were in ninety percentage points. An open invitation to black economy. Congis do not want to come out of that mould. Congis are speaking for their voter cons uency. GST is not black economy friendly.
    1. Pramod Trivedi
      Jun 29, 2017 at 7:30 pm
      Modi paid media at its best to jail GST as it hailed demonetisation,shame on these paid media's,if have the guts publish my comments
      1. A
        Jun 29, 2017 at 6:51 pm
        What a wonderful congress stupid idea escaping from "public" needs?
        1. R
          Jun 29, 2017 at 5:56 pm
          Move On India. We don't need those who pull it back and brood over niceties. Move On India !! Time has come for the nation to re-invent itself
          1. S
            Jun 29, 2017 at 4:43 pm
            Congress say they wanted their type of GST to be implement, Congress don't like Multiple Tax Slabs under current GST which BJP is putting across, Congress wanted only one Tax Slab for all, if that was to be implemented then it should have been in the range of 22 to 25 Range any one but if would have increased the cost for current lower ones like 5 , 12 to higher ones. Poor would have been hit hard Inflation would have spiraled. Let them Join for GST , it is not good to be outside when country is moving ahead.
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