Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday red-flagged the government’s flagship economic reform measure — the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill — raising a question mark about its implementation from next year as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Gandhi took the Congress’ opposition to GST to the people’s court by declaring that implementing the measure would only lead to price rise.
“The UPA wanted to bring the GST law to benefit industry. But now we are opposing the measure. The GST Bill brought by the BJP would only lead to price rise,” Gandhi said while addressing an election rally in Buxar in Bihar.
The Congress President’s remarks come after an extensive consultation process on the GST Bill, with senior leaders voicing their opposition to the non-inclusion of key provisions in the draft legislation.
The Congress has proposed three “non-negotiable” amendments to the GST Bill – capping the GST at 18 per cent, setting up a dispute redressal mechanism and abolishing one per cent additional tax over and above the GST.
The GST regime is one of the signature reforms of the Modi government to kick-start the stuttering economy.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has time and again argued that roll out of GST has the potential to push India’s GDP by 2 per cent.
Jaitley had rejected the Congress’ suggestions terming them as an “afterthought”.
There were differences of opinion within the Congress over supporting the GST with a section of the leadership inclined to back the Modi government on enacting the law. This group of leaders contended that the GST was a UPA initiative and the Congress should ensure that it sees the light of the day.