Bihar results may impact economic reforms, fears BJP


Several top Bharatiya Janata Party leaders feel that economic reforms of the Narendra Modi government could take a beating, following the Bihar elections.

One of the fears was related to the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Party insiders said the GST could head the same way as the controversial land acquisiton act in the winter session of Parliament. The delay in GST would have an adverse impact on Maharashtra working to bring uniform laws for its economic policies.

A senior BJP functionary revealed to The Indian Express, “In the winter session of Parliament, we were hoping to get GST through with the help of our alliance partners. But the consolidation of Congress, JD(U) and Left front post Bihar polls may make things difficult for the government when it comes to pushing its reform agenda.”

The local body tax (LBT) was scrapped keeping in mind enforcement of GST by December 2015.

Last week, Union Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari indicated that reviving the land acquisition bill in the winter session appeared difficult.

Gadkari had said, “The centre has left it to the respective state government to evolve own laws and execute policies on land acquisition.” While acknowledging that the passage of the controversial bill was almost an uncertainty, he had said, “The state government which wants rapid development will not be found lagging. They will push their own laws and go ahead. But those who don’t want development can sit on it.”

In the context of Maharashtra, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis rolled out a law where government intervention has been brought down further.

Also, the state government has ensured that private players should directly deal with land holders and mandated that compensation should be almost five times more than what was suggested.

Fadnavis said, “Unless there is consensus it would be difficult to push reforms at the centre.” However, on the land Act, Maharashtra exercised its discretion given to state government to strike the best bargain in the interest of farmers by enhancing compensation package by almost five times than suggested in the orginal act.

The chief minister said, “Whether it is auction of coal mines in Gadchiroli-Chandrapur or installation of new power plants, we evolved a mechanism to ensure participation of all stakeholders including tribals and farmers. We cannot push development at the cost of locals or farmers.”

State leaders admit that delay in GST would not augur well for overall national economy.

In the past, top leadership of Congress and NCP in Maharashtra had given consent to GST.

NCP president Sharad Pawar had often indicated that his party would support economic reforms for national interest. However, sources in the NCP said, “Ahead of winter session, NCP will convene a meeting in Delhi to take a formal stand on all issues including land acquisition and GST.”


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