Stepping up his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the first anniversary of the note ban today, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said the "twin blows" of demonetisation and GST "broke the legs" of Surat, the textile and diamond hub of the country.
Stepping up his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the first anniversary of the note ban, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said the “twin blows” of demonetisation and GST “broke the legs” of Surat, the textile and diamond hub of the country. Gandhi, who has visited poll-bound Gujarat several times in the recent past, tonight participated in a candle light vigil against demonetisation at Chowk Bazar. Gandhi, who spent the day visiting various textile and diamond units here, said that industries in Surat have the potential to compete with those in China but the government “destroyed” them. He, however, conceded that the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government too did not extend enough support to industries in Surat.
Gandhi interacted with industry representatives and workers at Nirman Industries’ loom factory in Katargam and seven different places. He termed demonetisation as an “attack” on India’s economy.
“I interacted with the people here and they told me that notebandi (demonetisation) and then GST have broken Surat’s legs. The industry has been finished by the twin blows not only here, but in the entire country,” Gandhi said.
Hitting out at the government over the new indirect tax regime rolled out on July 1 this year, Gandhi said, “We told (Prime Minister) Narendra Modiji and (Union Finance Minister) Arun Jaitleyji not to implement the GST in this way.” “This is not a political thing, this is not something between the Congress and the BJP. This is about India’s competitiveness, we have to compete with China. You please do not kill our industries and businesses. But they said that we are going to implement it at 12 midnight,” he said.
He said the Congress wanted to save Surat and the country by obstructing the GST bill brought by the government. “GST means one nation, one tax. But this GST implemented by Modiji, which has five layers, will not work. We said the tax should be capped at 18 per cent but they did not listen to us,” Gandhi said. In his interaction with industry representatives, Gandhi assured them that if Congress was voted to power he will make structural changes to the GST.
During his day-long stay, Gandhi visited a powerloom unit, a dyeing and processing factory, an embroidery unit, and interacted with women workers. He met cloth wholesalers, and also visited a diamond polishing unit. His talks with workers and owners of these units were focused on the effects of demonetisation and GST.