"Issues I Raised As Chief Minister...": PM Modi Responds To GST Criticism

GST or Goods and Services Tax was launched in 2017, aiming to replace more than a dozen federal and state levies and unify the sprawling economy.

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday attacked the Congress for the delay in implementation of the Goods and Services Tax or GST, saying that it was only after he took office that the outstanding issues were resolved, paving the way for the rollout of the unified tax regime.

"GST has seen a lot of changes. It is a big achievement for the country. If you had this much knowledge and a clear vision then why didn't you implement GST? Why did you keep it hanging?" PM Modi said in Rajya Sabha as the opposition broke erupted in protest.

"I had said that you should address the manufacturing states issues in order to implement GST. (Arun) Jaitley ji addressed these issues. The issues that I raised as a CM (Chief Minister), I have worked on them as a PM (Prime Minister)," he added.

The central government had launched the GST in 2017, its biggest ever tax reform, aiming to replace more than a dozen federal and state levies and unify the sprawling economy.

The move improved economic efficiency but critics say the complexities of the new regime have driven many small enterprises out of business and forced hundreds of thousands out of jobs.

The Congress, which had accused the BJP of holding up the GST when it was in the opposition, has been one of the sharpest critics of the implementation of the tax reform by the PM Modi's government, saying that bungled implementation had hurt the economy.

The Prime Minister also launched a blistering attack on opposition parties on their attempt to "misguide and misinform" the nation on the new citizenship law, saying the Kerala chief minister was on one hand warning about extremist elements infiltrating protests and on the other his party was supporting them in Delhi.

Replying to the debate in Rajya Sabha on a motion thanking the president for his address to the joint sitting of both houses of parliament, he quoted statements made by Ram Manohar Lohia and Lal Bahadur Shastri on supporting minorities facing persecution in Pakistan.