Chandigarh: Union Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Sunday congratulated Congress Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha Captain Amarinder Singh for taking a stand in favour of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill but said he could have done a better service to the nation if he had supported the bill in the Parliament and also explained its pro-growth merits to Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi.
In a statement here, the young two-time SAD MP from Bathinda, said, “Much as I welcome your belated support to the GST bill it puzzles me why you did not attend Parliament and speak in favour of the bill. There is also speculation that you have spoken in favour of GST to spite the Congress high command which is denying you leadership of the state unit”.
The Union Minister said to clear the air, Captain Amarinder could write an open letter to the Gandhi family explaining how introduction of GST would spur growth and boost the economy. “Probably the Gandhis who have yet to come to terms with their 2014 rout will understand the sage advice of a senior colleague. You will also be doing singular service to Punjab and the country by this act,” Harsimrat asserted.
Describing GST as something which will transform India into one uniform market for seamless transfer of goods and services, the Union Minister asked Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa to also clear his stand on the issue.
“Bajwa must clarify whether he wants to safeguard the interests of Punjab by supporting introduction of GST or only wants to save his chair by clinging to shameless sycophancy of the Gandhi family. It is surprising that Bajwa has chosen to remain silent on an issue of national concern,” she stated.
Harsimrat said Punjab was suffering in the context of the present tax system as a number of states and Union territories empowered by special incentives from the Union Government were levying fewer taxes. She said introduction of GST would provide a level playing field to all States to compete with each other.
Stating that GST system would be a win-win situation for all, the Union Minister said by amalgamating a large number of central and state taxes into a single tax, GST would mitigate cascading or double taxation in a major way and pave the way for a common national market.
She said even from the consumer point of view, the biggest advantage would be in terms of a reduction in the overall tax burden on goods, which was currently estimated at 25 to 30 per cent. She said introduction of GST would also make Indian products competitive in the domestic and international markets.
Pertinently, with his own party disrupting parliament during the entire monsoon session and not letting both the houses function for most of the time, Captain Amarinder Singh had on Friday sounded a near discordant note, expressing displeasure over the delay in the introduction and passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill.
The move by Captain Amarinder Singh could cause discomfort to the Congress, which continued with its protests in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha during the just concluded monsoon session, seeking the resignation of Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj over the Lalit Modi controversy.
“Whatever the reasons and the circumstances have been during the monsoon session, the GST should have been allowed to be introduced in parliament to facilitate the way for its eventual passage,” the Captain had said in a statement, here, adding that it was important for the overall economic growth of the country.