The ruling NDA government, economists and even the opposition is optimistic about the Goods and Services Tax. But Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy is not.
A day after the 122nd constitution amendment bill was cleared by Parliament, ending the legislation’s five year-long hibernation, Swamy raised questions if the future GST act can withstand legal scrutiny.
“I am confident Smart Cities will be a reality in 2018 but not sure if the future GST Act can survive in SC because of GSTN-- a PC time bomb,” Swamy tweeted on Tuesday morning.
I am confident Smart Cities will be a reality in 2018 but not sure if the future GST Act can survive in SC because of GSTN-- a PC time bomb— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) August 9, 2016
By “PC era”, Swamy meant the duration when P Chidambaram was the finance minister of the previous UPA government.
The Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) is the special purpose vehicle that was formed to create the information technology backbone to the roll-out of the new, nationwide tax that will replace myriad local levies.
In the GSTN, the government of India holds 24.5 % share. State governments, including NCT of Delhi and Puducherry, and the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers, together hold another 24.5%. Balance 51% equity is with non-government financial institutions.
Swamy, a Harvard-returned economist, has not been a vocal supporter for the GST. He is also known to have a bitter equation with Chidambaram who is now in the same Rajya Sabha, where Swamy is a member. During the seven-hour-long debate on the GST bill in the Upper House last week, the BJP did not allow Swamy to participate.
The BJP leader also re-tweeted an article that questioned why the tax collection management of GST has been given to an entity where private players have a majority stake.
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the GST bill will liberate people from “tax terrorism” as the Lok Sabha passed a Constitution amendment bill for GST.
Modi also said the consumer will be “king” in the new system and hailed the new tax regime as “pro-poor” and “pro-consumer”.