New Delhi: Blaming NDA’s ‘stubborn and unbending’ attitude for the GST logjam, Congress today said the ball was in the government’s court even as it targeted the ruling dispensation over the handling of economy, which the party claimed was “stuck in a groove”.
Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said 2015 has ended on a “somber and subdued note” and many promises of the government — more jobs, greater investment and quicker infrastructure development — have not materialised. “…The economy is stuck in a groove,” he said.
Addressing a press conference at the AICC, the senior Congress leader said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invited Congress President and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to a meeting, where they gave their three precise objections on the GST bill.
“What did the Prime Minister say … we will come back to you after reflecting within the government. That’s almost a month now. We have not received the written response of the government or the revised formulation of the government on the three principal objections”.
He said the ball is entirely in the government’s court and it is for them to come back and “tell us whether they accepting our objection (on GST bill), whether they are revising formulation, whether they are amending sections”.
The former Union Minister further said the government has not been able to find a way to accommodate the views of the Opposition and pass the GST Bill. “I am afraid the government has only to blame itself and
its stubborn and unbending attitude,” he said. Chidambaram also said that “two of the three objections” have been virtually endorsed by Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian.
The Congress wants a constitutional cap on GST rate, withdrawal of one per cent tax on inter-state movement of goods and Supreme Court judge headed dispute resolution panel. He further said that after the Bihar elections, there were initial signs that the government would reach out to the Opposition and adopt a consensual approach.
That hope was short-lived and as a result, many important legislation remain stalled in Parliament, he said.