Arun Jaitley reaches out to defiant Congress in a last ditch attempt to salvage GST

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Arun Jaitley , Union Finance Minister
Arun Jaitley , Union Finance Minister

As the GST bill hangs in balance and time running out ,  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley  has made a fresh bid to end the deadlock on GST bill as he reached out to Congress, asking it to think about the “legacy” it would be leaving behind by opposing it. He was of the view that by GST bill passage India has an opportunity to touch 9 percent growth.

As a matter of fact just six days now remain of the Winter Session of Parliament and the possibility of the Goods and Service Tax bill being passed appears dim as the house has not been able to function over the storm generated by the national Herald case and the CBI raid in Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office.

“It is not difficult for India to grow at 8-9 percent. It is not impossible,” Jaitley said in the Lok Sabha while replying to a debate on the second batch of Supplementary Demand for Grants of Rs 56,256 crore which was later approved.

He said the best solution to poverty eradication is enabling the country to grow faster which will generate jobs and increase resources of the government. “Those who try to create impediments want to poverty to perpetuate…. By short-sighted vision, we end up hurting the poor in this country,” the Finance Minister said.

He said GST (Goods and Services Tax) bill, which aims at reforming the direct taxation system in the country, can push the country’s growth by one and one-and-a-half per cent. Reaching out to main opposition party which is opposing the bill that is pending in Rajya Sabha, Jaitley said, “I would urge the current leadership of Congress party also to look at the history and legacy they want to leave behind. Support these measures so that we are able to grow faster. We have more money to get rid of poverty much faster.” He noted that GST was first brought by the previous Congress-led government and was “unquestionably” the “collective wisdom of everybody… But today they oppose.”

Jaitley, who spoke in the absence of Congress which was boycotting the House over alleged ‘vendetta politics’, said he was conveying the message to the main opposition party through the Chair. He hoped that the growth in the current year would be 7-7.5 percent and the fiscal deficit would be restricted to 3.9 percent of the GDP with quality “much superior” than previous government.