Will support GST Bill if recommendations are accepted: Congress

  • PTI, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 11, 2016 19:27 IST
Congress MP Jairam Ramesh at the Parliament House in New Delhi. (Sanjeev Verma/HT File Photo)

Congress claimed in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that the “real opposition” to the GST Bill was coming from within the government and it was ready to give full support to it if its three key recommendations are accepted.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh questioned the credibility of the current GDP growth figure of 7.6%, claiming that nobody believes these numbers as they are “suspicious”.

The former minister asked the government to come out with “credible” GDP figures and suggested setting up of a committee under the chairmanship of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.

He also raked up the issue of alleged irregularities by Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) in its KG basin gas project and demanded a probe into it, while asking the government not be selective in investigating NPA cases.

Participating in a debate on the Finance Bill, Ramesh harped on ‘3 Gs’ -- GST, GDP and Gas (of GSPC).

The Congress member insisted that his party wants GST and that it was ready to give full support to the government if its three suggestions are incorporated in the bill.

“We have three suggestions. One is setting up of independent committee to adjudicate disputes, elimination of one percent tax and introduction of capping ...If consensus on these three is arrived, we are ready to support,” he said.

The GST Bill, which proposes to overhaul the indirect tax regime, has been pending in the Rajya Sabha for a number of years because of resistance by opposition members.

On capping the upper limit for GST, Ramesh said the government says this cannot be accepted as there is no provision in the Constitution for this purpose. The Article 276 (2), however, provides for capping and “with creative a use of language”, the government can accommodate.

Referring to a media report that said some section in the government believes that GST is undesirable, the former minister said, “The real opposition to GST is not coming from the Congress, it is coming from within the government.”

He attacked the government for using Congress as “smoke screen” for the current situation of GST.

Speaking about GDP growth figures, Ramesh said on Wednesday that nobody believes in India’s GDP figures. “Chief economic adviser, RBI governor, London economists and Wall Street Journal do not believe our GDP numbers,” he claimed.

“Nobody is denying that have a high growth rate. But the number put on GDP are highly suspicious. It (GDP growth) is somewhere between 5.9% and 6.5% and not 7.5%,” he said.

Stating that India is growing and the country should grow much faster, Ramesh said, “For the first time, the credibility of GDP numbers are questioned. It has served the government purpose. I urge the government to pause a bit and come out with credible set of figures.”

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