Surprised at GST objections, but haven’t lost hope: Jaitley

New Delhi, Jan 30 (IANS) Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said he was surprised when the Congress party voiced its objections to the goods and services tax bill after initiating it, but hoped it will see a passage in parliament considering its larger impact on the economy.

“It was they (the Congress party) who started the process. So I was surprised when they came up with these three objections,” Jaitley told the Economic Times Global Business Summit, but added: “I hope they are flexible and see the rationale behind passing the GST.”

The Congress party has desired that the government scrap the proposed 1 percent additional levy to compensate states for losses on account of the switch to GST, incorporate the GST rate within the bill and limit the items that will be excluded from this pan-India levy.

The finance minister pointed out that a Congress finance minister, P. Chidambaram, had initiated the process for a pan-India goods and services tax, and his successor Pranab Mukherjee, now the country’s president, had introduced the enabling constitution amendment bill.

Jaitley also said that if the larger goal of reforms has to be achieved, India must grow faster so that people are lifted out of poverty. “The Indian normal has to be in the 8-9 percent,” he said, a day after the GDP growth for 2013-14 was lowered by 10 basis points to 7.2 percent.

“It’s only at this pace you can get rid of poverty,” he said, adding: “When India is referred to as a bright spot, we feel happy, we feel proud. Having said that we still have sleepless nights. We probably also have the potential to achieve faster growth.”

The finance minister also took up the point made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi a day ago at the same platform on subsidies that such doles cannot evoke ideological positions and must go to the deserving, by whatever name they are called.

“The government is not against the concept of subsidies,” finance minister Jaitley said. “We are for rationalisation, not abolition.”

The prime minister had said that while doles given to the poor were called subsidies, those being extended to the well off were portrayed positively. “Let me give you an example. The revenue loss from incentives to corporate tax payers was over Rs. 62,000 crore,” Modi had said.

“Dividends and long term capital gains on shares traded in stock exchanges are totally exempt from income tax even though it is not the poor who earn them. Since it is exempt, it is not even counted in the Rs. 62,000 crore,” he said.

“I am not arguing that all subsidies are good. My point is there can’t be an ideological position on such matters. We have to be pragmatic. We have to eliminate bad subsidies, whether or not they are called subsidies.”


  1. “It was they (the Congress party) who started the process. So I was surprised when they came up with these three objections,” Jaitley told the Economic Times Global Business Summit, but added: “I hope they are flexible and see the rationale behind passing the GST.”


    • Our Murudeshwara Rampai’s Hero
      There’s too much going wrong for Modi and his government’s image.

      The resurfacing of the Ram temple issue, the intolerance debate and increasing discomfort among minorities as well as Dalits has left the government and the PM smeared. Add to that the glaring economic slowdown, a sore point even with the RSS leadership.

      For a government that promised to be pro-poor, inability to contain soaring prices of ess­ential food items like pulses, oil and onions is a huge letdown. The PM’s abysmal failure lies in the stagnation on the job front at all levels of industry—a stark contrast to the promise of job creation he had made during the election campaign.

      What’s worse, finance minister Arun Jaitley’s pitch for Start-Up India in Davos as a job creator is a tacit admission that the government has limitations in providing jobs domestically. All this after Modi, as far back as November 2013, made creation of one crore jobs if the BJP came to power his strongest poll pitch.
      And, our silly fellow from Yumreeka (Murudu Rampa), who is neither firmly entrenched here nor there, thought that Manna would ‘rain’ down from heaven from 27th May, 2014 onward! Lol!

      He believed it when his Pradhana sevaka fed false promises to Indians such as:

      1. ಯಾನ ನೀಕ್ಲೆಗ್ 15 ಲಕ್ಷ ಕೊರ್ಪೆ ಯಾ. (ಕ್ರಿಸ್ಮಸ್ 2015 ಲಾ ಆಂಡ್. ಒಂಜಿ ನಯಾ ಪೈಸ ಬೈಜ್ಜೀ).

      2. 1 ಅಖಂಡ ಭಾರತ ರುಪೀ = 1 ಯೂಮ್‌ರೀಕಿ ಡಾಲರ್ (in reality, 1 ಅಖಂಡ ಭಾರತ ರುಪೀ has crossed our beloved PM’s age and is inching closer and closer to our very beloved ನಮ್ಮ ಮಾರ್ಗದರ್ಶಕನ (Advani) ಪ್ರಾಯ.

      3. ‘MACK’ in India…. MACK in India…. (and our Pyarelal Rampa is still ‘ಬಿಕ್ಕಿಂಗ್’ to ‘MACK’ a trip to India annually! Forget about Sardar’s statue and the metro!

      4. The Sevaka cannot open his mouth in India. I guess it is reserved to woo the NRI’s/PIO’s in ಮ್ಯಾಡಿಸನ್ square. If I’m not mistaken, he has made MORE trips to ಫೋರೀನ್ than the no. of months he has been at the helm of his ರಥ.

      5. The RSS has become THE mother of all REMOTE controls. The ABVP is running berserk! But then, what can a mere ಪ್ರಧಾನ ಸೇವಕ do – except make a quick ಫೋರೀನ್ trip when the heat becomes too much?

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