FM seeks Congress’ support to GST, says India can touch 9% growth


Jaitley asked Congress to think about the legacy the party will be leaving behind by opposing the GST bill

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley speaks in Rajya Sabha during winter session of Parliament in New Delhi

Contending that India has an opportunity to touch 9% growth, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today 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.

Speaking in the Lok Sabha, Jaitley praised West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Bihar Chief MinisterNitish Kumar for openly supporting GST and appealed to those opposing it that a message should not go to the world that Parliament in India is being an “obstruction”.

He said India is being seen as a “bright spot” when other major economies have slowed down and this opportunity to realise the full growth potential should be seized.

“It not difficult for India to grow at 8-9%. 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 percent.

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% and the fiscal deficit would be restricted to 3.9% of the GDP with quality “much superior” than previous government.

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