GST… not a game changer, says BJP’s own

RSTV Bureau
FILE: New Delhi: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy at Parliament House.  Photo - PTI

FILE: New Delhi: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy at Parliament House.
Photo – PTI

While the ruling BJP, battery of its leaders and even the Industry have been strongly pitching for the passage of Goods and Service Tax (GST) Bill, terming it a landmark economic reform, one its own is not entirely convinced.

BJP’s senior leader and its recent member nominated in the Upper House, Subramanian Swamy is of view that the GST will not benefit the economy significantly.

“I don’t think GST is going to be a game-changer. If it comes, it is ok. If it doesn’t come also it is ok,” he said, speaking at the industry lobby Indian Merchant Chamber (IMC) in Mumbai.

“GST…it is not big deal for the Indian economy. There is a feeling that it will simplify the tax system, I have no objection to it,” Swamy added further.

Interestingly, Subramanian Swamy also noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had objected to the GST when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, and now the Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa is objecting to it.

“At one stage, when Mr. Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister, he took objections and wrote a letter to the government,” Swamy told the gathering at Mumbai.

FILE: Union Minister Arun Jaitley briefing the media with West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra, and the Revenue Secretary, Hasmukh Adhia on the meeting of the Empowered Committee on GST, in Kolkata, June 4. Photo - PTI

FILE: Union Minister Arun Jaitley briefing the media with West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra, and the Revenue Secretary, Hasmukh Adhia on the meeting of the Empowered Committee on GST, in Kolkata, June 4.
Photo – PTI

The issue of GST bill’s passage has led to a stiff Congress-BJP stand-off, both inside and outside the Parliament. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, which is being hailed as the biggest indirect taxation reform by the Modi government, has been passed in Lok Sabha but is stuck in Rajya Sabha due to numerical advantage enjoyed by the principal opposition party.

However, the government is now hoping to get the bill through given Congress party’s reduced strength in Rajya Sabha.

Even though, NDA’s own numbers are way short of requisite 164 in a 245-member house, BJP is hopeful of support from other parties in opposition bloc, which are not aligned to the ‘Congress’ line’ of opposition.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley earlier this week claimed that most of the states, barring Tamil Nadu, have come on board on the long-pending issue and the central government is hoping of pushing the legislation in the upcoming Monsoon Session.

“Virtually all the states have supported the idea of GST, barring Tamil Nadu which has expressed some reservations. Tamil Nadu has offered a few suggestions which have been noted by the committee,” Finance Minister Jaitley had told the press after meeting of Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers in New Delhi on June 14.

Once it is cleared by the Parliament, the constitution amendment bill needs the assent of more than half of the state assemblies.