SAS Nagar: Union minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha on Saturday slammed Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi saying he was the only one stalling the goods and services tax (GST).
Sinha made the statement while interacting with industry representatives at Swadeshi Mela here. He said, “We hope to implement GST from April 2016 but the situation will become clear in the winter session.”
As industrial representatives from Punjab, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh made a case for rebate in taxes, Sinha said, “Most of the issues regarding taxes would get resolved once GST comes into place, but the only person stalling it is Rahul. Even if we get two hours in which the Rajya Sabha is allowed to work, we assure you, the GST would be implemented.”
He said, “We have the numbers to see the GST through, but Rahul is deliberately not allowing the Rajya Sabha to work even for a few hours, which is hampering the growth,” blaming the “non-cooperation” by the opposition for delay in implementation of GST.
“The government is contemplating three different tax slabs under GST— concessional, standard and luxury. For the first two years, diesel and petrol would be kept out of its ambit. In case there are no losses incurred by the stakeholders in two years, diesel and petrol can be brought under the umbrella.”
‘Desh Ram bharose chal raha hai’
Even as industry representatives urged for subsidies, Sinha, projecting a grim financial situation, said, “Desh Ram bharose chal raha hai. The expenditure of the government is Rs 18 lakh crore and the tax revenue generated is Rs 12.5 lakh crore, which means it is deficient by Rs 5.5 lakh crore.”
Replying to the industry’s request for subsidy, Sinha said, “When it is in the interest of the nation, subsidy would be given. One needs to understand the country’s financial condition. The contribution of tax in GDP is just 16% while in other countries it is 25-30%. This indicates that people are not paying taxes; to check tax evasion is the government’s priority.”
He said the government’s focus is on checking corruption and they are working towards a cashless economy.
‘Cong failed to provide infrastructure’
Blaming the Congress for having failed to provide infrastructure, Sinha said, “In 10 years of the Congress rule, not even a single penny was generated for capital expenditure. As a result, out of the 100 railway lines announced in the Congress rule, only three saw the light of day.”
Boasting about the BJP government’s commitment for infrastructure development, Sinha said, “Today, we are constructing 23 kilometres of roads every day as against the 4 kilometres constructed during the Congress rule.
Existing industry also want parity with new
Aggrieved at power being supplied at lower rates to new investors coming to Punjab, existing industry representatives wanted doing away with “discrimination” as industry is undergoing hardships.
Punjab industry minister Madan Mohan Mittal came out in support of the existing industry, which is seeking energy at cheaper rates on the lines of new industrial units.
The Punjab cabinet last month had announced a slew of incentives, including power at Rs 4.99 per unit for five years to new industrial units.
Mittal said, “The existing industry should get power at fixed rates like the new units. We are fighting for it. Power to the existing industry at fixed rates should be given for five years.”
*Ludhiana’s shawl industry representative Mridula Sinha demanded setting up of an exhibition centre on the lines of Pragati Maidan and a domestic airport to provide better connectivity to Ludhiana, the industrial hub of Punjab. Sinha urged the industry to send the proposal for setting up the centre at SAS Nagar that has an international airport and is well connected to all state towns.
*Hero group’s SK Rai urged the government to give the cycle industry special privilege as it has immense potential for employment generation. Sinha urged the cycle industry to come up with innovative ideas.
*Dera Bassi industry association representative Rakesh Kumar demanded that the interest at which loan is provided to industry be reduced. Sinha said in the present scenario rates could not be reduced though industry could seek subsidy from the fund generated under Small Industries Development Bank of India.
*Dyeing industry representative Bobby Jindal urged the government to do away with the two Saturday off for banks, which is causing inconvenience to small enterprises. Sinha said the industry should consider cashless transaction and shift online.
*Pipe fitting industry’s Harish Gupta demanded increase in the excise limit of Rs 1.5 crore that had been the same for years. Sinha said it would be considered in the next budget.
*Valve and cork industry’s Sushil Kumar demanded checking of illegal supply for scrap from Delhi in different parts of the country. Sinha said efforts were on to check the inverted duty structure.