NEW DELHI: As the Winter Session of Parliament began today, industry body Assocham appealed to the Opposition parties to help in the passage of GST bill as it can be a ‘brahmastra’ for India in challenging global times.
“Goods and Services Tax is a key ‘brahmastra’ for our GDP. Lawmakers across parties should pass the Constitutional Amendment Bill on GST without further delay,” the new Assocham President Sunil Kanoria said.
“This would send a strong signal to investors that India’s economy can overcome serious global challenges with political will,” he told reporters here.
He said the economy was affected by demand slowdown, uncertain geopolitical situation after the Paris terror attacks, and an unprecedented crash in vital commodities.
“GST will harmonise indirect taxes by doing away with multiplicity of taxes. It will also reduce cost of production, which will be then passed on consumers, thus lowering inflation. More striking would be the display of a political unity and the will to rise up to national cause,” he said.
Timely implementation of GST would raise the GDP by 1.5 to 2 per cent, Kanoria said adding the Opposition should not change their earlier stance.
Talking about the country’s economic growth forecast, he said this fiscal, Indian economy is expected to register a growth of 7.2 per cent to 7.3 per cent.
“It will be below 7.5 per cent this year. In 2016-17, it may increase to about 7.5 to 8 per cent and 9 per cent in 2018-19. But it will depend on so many things,” he added.
Kanoria also said the stipulation of additional 1 per cent duty should not be imposed and the GST would help country to make “one India rather than divide India”.
He urged the Congress party to rise up to the national call and support the (GST) bill in Rajya Sabha.
“If the Congress party or any other national or regional party has some specific concerns, the government should look into the same and address it as far as possible. There can always be a middle ground,” he said.
Kanoria further said the critical challenge was to generate jobs for the one million Indians joining the workforce every month.
For that, he said, improving the ease of doing business, better infrastructure, affordable access to finance are critical steps.
On the issue of bank NPAs, he said: “We cannot afford to delay the full recapitalisation of banks while concerted efforts should continue to address the structural problems of the sector like steel, power, roads, highways where the maximum level of stress assets is locked up.”
In this regard, the bankruptcy law should be passed urgently and implemented so that assets locked in bad loans are released and given to new promoters, he added.
He also suggested for an empowered infrastructure dispute resolution mechanism.