'I Doubted GST As Chief Minister': PM Modi Answers Critics

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PM Modi in Lok Sabha said that a "lot of flaws have been overcome" in the provisions of GST.


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. PM Modi had opposed GST as Gujarat chief minister
  2. I had discussed my doubts with Pranab Mukherjee many times: PM Modi
  3. Lok Sabha unanimously voted in favour of GST on Monday
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in parliament on Monday that his experience as a chief minister who had doubts about the Goods and Services Tax, made it easier for him to address those issues as Prime Minister.

Opposition leaders, while pledging support to India's biggest tax reform, have repeatedly taunted PM Modi about his opposition to GST, first scripted by the Congress-led UPA government, when he was Gujarat chief minister and his party, the BJP, was in opposition.

In a discussion in the Lok Sabha on Monday, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said, "Those who are passing the GST now, why were they opposing it when they were in the opposition?

"I had many doubts. I had discussed it with Pranab Mukherjee many times," PM Modi said in his speech during the discussion, referring to the President who was then Finance Minister in the UPA government.

"As Prime Minister, having the experience of a Chief Minister, I could easily address the concerns on GST," PM Modi said.

He said there was a crucial need to develop confidence among states on GST as many of them had apprehensions over the centre compensating them for loss of revenue. Because GST is applied at the time of consumption, producing states like Tamil Nadu and Gujarat fear they will rack up losses. In both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Tamil Nadu's ruling party, the AIADMK, staged a walk out in protest before the vote on GST.  

On Monday evening, after the six-hour debate, theLok Sabha unanimously voted in favour of the constitutional amendment bill that enables GST, a single national tax that will replace a raft of different state and local taxes.

The Prime Minister noted that a "lot of flaws have been overcome" in the provisions of GST, detailing how it will benefit states, and said he alone could not take credit for that, thanking parties for their support to enable what has been described as his biggest victory since the 2014 election.

One party had "birthed GST and another brought it up," the PM said, emphasising that GST "can't be seen as a victory of a party or government, it is a win for the democratic ethos of India and a victory for everyone."

After the vote, the PM walked up to opposition leaders and shook hands with them.


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