Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s attacks on PM Narendra Modi’s economic policies continue, a year after he had launched the most severe counter to Centre’s demonetisation decision. On Monday, Singh targeted GST rollout, saying it has a “faulty design” in its current form and that its “complication of compliances” has killed jobs and businesses.
During a meeting on GST at the AICC headquarters, the former PM raised concerns over the faulty implementation of GST. “While demonetisation was organised loot and legalised plunder, GST has ended up taking away livelihoods of ordinary people besides shutting down businesses,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala quoted Singh as saying. According to Surjewala, Singh noted, “the fact that the faulty design (of GST), and architecture and complication of compliances have killed jobs and businesses”.
The Congress has reportedly planned to start protests against GST all over the country. According to CNN-News18, Singh said that the GST in its current form is a “fraud” for small traders and businessmen.
Not the first time
Singh’s latest remarks on GST comes at a time when the GST Council, comprising representatives from all states, is working to bring in relief measures for the worst-affected sectors. But this is not the first time when Singh has attacked the GST.
On many occasions since the GST rollout on July 1 this year, Singh has slammed the move. Last month, Singh had cautioned against the “hasty” implementation of GST, along with the note ban, would dent economic growth, as these have adversely affected the informal sector.
Singh had then told CNBC-TV 18, the GST “has been put on practice in haste” and “there are lots of glitches which are coming out now”. “These are bound to affect the GDP growth adversely,” he added.
Singh slamming GST comes as a surprise as he was instrumental in the passage of the biggest tax reform in Parliament. In April this year, Singh had advised Congress leader Jairam Ramesh against seeking an amendment to the GST Bill for the sake of consensus. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley acknowledged Singh’s gesture and thanked him for the cooperation by walking up to the Opposition benches in the Rajya Sabha.
Before this in 2015, Singh was instrumental in breaking the deadlock on GST when Modi government was struggling to bring all parties to the table for passing the GST Bill in Parliament. Singh had reportedly set up a meeting between Modi and Congress president Sonia Gandhi on the request of the former. The Economic Times had then reported that Singh took an active interest in the discussion at Modi’s residence.