Sunday October 21, 2018
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GST Bill: Time for Congress to question its means and ends

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By Gaurav Sharma

Photo credit: youtube.com
Photo credit: youtube.com

The current ruckus created in the Parliament over the introduction of the Goods and Service Tax Bill(GST), has resulted in a stalemate between the NDA government and opposition parties threatening a whitewash monsoon session this year.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley blamed the impasse on the “obstinacy of two Congress leaders”, alluding to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

Jaitley alleged that the Congress’ demands for resignations of Sushma Swaraj, and two other ministers, was a pretext for stalling the GST bill. However, the Congress refused to backtrack from its stance and continued to shout its motto, “no resignation, no House”.

Meanwhile, JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav and other MP’s from the Samajwadi Party(SP) attacked Jaitley for his inability to push through the bill.

Why has the bill created such a mindless, bitter standoff so as to stall the functioning of Parliament, brazenly splurging precious taxpayer money in a sea of inactivity? Is it mere coincidence that the passage of the bill in the Upper House gratuitously timed itself with serious charges being leveled against top politicos?

This requires an understanding of the Goods & Services Tax.

GST is a tax initiative which aims to bring all indirect taxes under a single tax structure, whereby all goods and services are charged under a national sales tax. It is the backbone of the indirect tax reforms that the Indian government has been aiming to bring forth since 2010, when the then finance minister P Chidambaram proposed it in his budget speech.

GST is part of a constitutional amendment bill for which means it has to be passed by both the Houses of the Parliament.

Under the proposed harmonised taxation system, only the Central government would be able to levy an integrated GST on the interstate transfer of goods and services and imports. Rates of tax, supply principles, special state provisions and levy period for additional tax would be determined (recommended) by a GST Council.

How will it help the economy?

Although the provisions of the bill are not strictly conforming to an ideal GST regime, the tax would bring a sea change in the way business is conducted in the country and the way economy revolves.

It will iron out the kinks in the current indirect tax structure, broaden the tax base (thereby filling the government coffers), increase compliance and prevent the gory practice of double taxation.

Economic distortions which further make life difficult for businesses running at a pan-India level, will be wiped clean, providing much-needed ease-of-doing-business for corporates. Manufacturing activity would start rising and tax compliance would become simpler.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley boisterously described the GST as the biggest tax reform in India and went to say that it would add a substantial 2 per cent to the growth rate of the country.

Issues pertaining GST

The GST has its fair share of  contentious issues. First of all, the provisions of the bill declare an additional tax of 1 per cent (for 2 years) on inter-state trade or commerce by the Centre, thereby precluding the visualized aim of taxing value addition and not trade.

Furthermore, the exclusion of alcohol and petroleum from the ambit of the GST Bill puts question marks on the resolve of the government to ushering forth a strong taxation regime.

Some states have voiced concerns over potential revenue losses in light of the change in tax infrastructure. Still, in the long run, one can expect prices to fall and delivery of goods and services to become more efficient, bringing much cheer to the inflation saddled shoulders of the consumer.

Indian products, both in domestic and international, can be expected to become more competitive due to the fall in price. A surge in exports would cut India’s current account deficit (CAD) significantly, which can have a cascading effect on the strength of the rupee.

It would not be too far-fetched to imagine a vast improvement in India’s standing in the global markets, if the GST is implemented swiftly, without any red-tapism.

Present Status

GST has not only caused a scuffle between politicians but has agitated the corporate groups. Most of the corporate honchos blame the Opposition for delaying the implementation of GST.

More than 61 per cent of the respondents of an ET poll felt that the delay would be a setback, a pushback to the economic recovery. Majority felt a complete economic recovery would be difficult to accomplish by April 2016, the deadline set for the passage of the bill.

If the opposition comprising of 68 Congress, 10 Left, 11 AIADMK MPs continue to battle tooth and nail against the bill, their credibility as pro-reform political parties will be questioned.

While the Rajya Sabha requires the sanction of at least two-thirds majority to pass the bill, the prospective opposition alliance would fail the bill by seven votes in the house of 245 members.

Considering the fact that barely 2 days remain for the end of the monsoon session, it is highly unlikely that the government would be able to introduce the bill. The opposition in its political zealousness has resorted to a desperate measure of log jamming the Parliament.

Protesting against a pro-market, pro-economy legislation, shows the degraded levels to which our politicians have stooped to, without giving a hoot to the slick democratic machinery of the country.

Our politicians swear by the Constitution, it is time they start abiding by it.

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Awakened to The Congress’s Blatant Support to Anti-Nation Forces

This time from foreign soil, Germany, Rahul Gandhi has spoken out his mind

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Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi.

By Salil Gewali

Sometimes I feel too confused that what makes a leader speak so badly about the country. Still more confusing is that the same leader is projected as the only fittest in the country to be the Prime Minister.

This time from foreign soil, Germany, Rahul Gandhi has spoken out his mind. With gay abandon he claimed the lack of employment is the cause behind the rise of ISIS. If we analyze such statement objectively, we see that the unprecedented danger is looming large around this country not because of the citizens but because of the irresponsible leaders.

Is it not too shocking that we tolerate a bunch of leaders all through who, with impunity, tramples upon prudence and embrace the fickleness by speaking with such rashness? The ridiculous ranting is what Rahul Gandhi is good at. How many immature gaffes he has committed in last one year. One finds it too sickening to see people defending what Rahul utters out? Again, to his party’s sycophants, each word spoken out by him is worth its weight in gold.

Could any conscious people come across the board to evaluate what will be the likely repercussion when the projected leader goes to the extent to connect the unemployment of youth with ISIS? What do you say — if a certain father harps on that his children will be dagger-wielding murderers if they will not get jobs? What message does it send out? Will such ideas not “viciously affect” the thought process of the children in future? One wonders how the constitution allows the leaders to speak out such dangerous language. Will it not encourage the treasonous activities within the country leading to the decline of the security and sovereignty of the nation?

Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi.

Despite the height of stupidity, Rahul Gandhi is capable to earn more admirers then criticizers. Is it a pointer to the fact that one man’s loss of sense should lead to the “loss of sense” of other intellectuals? Or do we love an “individual” from a particular family more than our own “country”? On what ground is an “individual” more respect-worthy than the “party”, country and its constitutional ethos? This is in fact a very ominous trend which this country is witnessing now.

True, our Indian polity needs a strong opposition. People do not disagree at all that Congress should not be the one. Yes, this party can alone match well with the rival BJP. But sadly, the party is failing when Rahul started to become more vocal. The party with so smaller number of MPs has not yet “acknowledged” that its rapid decline now is because it continues to sing a hymn to one family only. The conscious Congress party leaders should come down to the ground and critically assess the people’s opinions and their concerns. They all have been intensely disillusioned by the dynasty politics.

Has this “family” not pleasantly ignored a very learned and seasoned leader Pranab Mukherjee by reducing him to just a rubber stamp?  Are Sachin Pilot, Ghulam Nabi Azad, C. P. Joshi, Ashok Gehlot, Jyotiraditya, Scindia, Priya Dutt, less Indian? If BJP can groom Kiren Rijiju why can’t Congress groom the astute leader of the northeast like Gaurav Gogoi or Vincent Pala or Mukul Sangma ? No exaggeration, Sachin Pilot could diplomatically handle the political situation and articulate the party policies far more maturely than entire Gandhi family members put together.

Enough is enough. People now anxiously await the REVIVAL of political parties with vibrant faces who genuinely love the country. We have seen enough of the anti-nation activities incited by the Gandhi family.  It’s totally wrong to be the puppets of a wrong family and spell doom for the nation. PM Modi rightly says that service to the country is far more important than the service to the family.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali.

One response to “Awakened to The Congress’s Blatant Support to Anti-Nation Forces”

  1. During the UPA/Congress government there had been numerous terrorist attacks, Mumbai trains, Zaveri Bazar, 26-11, plus the attacks in Ahmedabad, Pune etc. Was this situation because the terrorists could not find jobs during their rule? Compared to that there are very few terrorist attacks in India in last four years. So the terrorists must be gainfully employed in last four years !