Thursday, January 28, 2021
Home Opinions Why did Congress vote for “NDA’s GST” in 2017 and other questions for Rahul...

Why did Congress vote for “NDA’s GST” in 2017 and other questions for Rahul Gandhi

PM Modi took a big political risk in 2017. It paid off. Turns out the risk was even bigger than we imagined. He is in the thick of it now, facing the thundershowers. One thing I can assure you. He’s not wearing a raincoat. History will decide in 2024.

Now that India’s economy is reeling from Coronavirus, it seems that Rahul Gandhi wants to blame everything on GST. This is good political posturing in place of good economics. So I have two basic questions for Rahul Gandhi.

(1) If Rahul Gandhi was opposed to GST, why did the Congress Party vote in favor of GST in the Rajya Sabha in 2016 and 2017?

This was really not so long ago. But public memory can be short. So let me quote the news stories from 2016 that bear this out. This is from the Economic Times on Aug 4, 2016:

The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014 was approved by the Rajya Sabha with 203 votes in favour and none against. The debate witnessed a rare bonhomie among the government and the opposition.”

Did you see that? Not a single vote was cast against the bill (the AIADMK walked out). All Congress members, present and voting, supported the bill.

The same unity was seen in the Rajya Sabha in 2017, when the government had to pass four pieces of enabling legislation to operationalize GST.

Congress gave a nod to the GST bll

In fact, Jairam Ramesh said he wanted to move some amendments, but Dr. Singh personally asked him not to do so. If the Congress was opposed to the bill, why did they vote for it on the floor of the house? Twice!

(2) Why did the Congress miss the original GST deadline of April 1, 2010?

In his video, Rahul Gandhi boasts that there was something called “UPA’s GST” which would have done great things for the country. Unlike the NDA’s GST, which incidentally the Congress party voted for.

Okay, so why did the UPA not pass the GST Bill? They were in government, no? In fact, the first ever deadline for GST was set as April 1, 2010. This deadline was announced in the Budget speech on the floor of Parliament back in 2006. The Finance Minister was P Chidambaram.

From 2006 to 2014, the UPA had 8 full years. Why did they not pass the GST bill and unleash an era of milk and honey upon the nation, as Rahul Gandhi would have liked?

Here’s the thing. In every country in the world, GDP growth has taken a hit in the first two years after implementation of GST. The overhaul only bears fruit in the long haul. That’s why it is quite dangerous for a government to unleash this big reform. In fact, BJP made a record of sorts by becoming the first ruling government in the world to get re-elected after implementing GST.

And the Congress fully understands this point. It always did. In order to see this, look no further than the political code behind April 1, 2010, the GST deadline set by the Congress in 2006.

Why April 1, 2010? The General Election is supposed to be in 2009 and two things could have happened. Either Sonia ji’s govt gets re-elected or it doesn’t. If they lose, then it’s not their problem any more. If they win, they implement GST within the first year of their second term, so that the shocks subside in two years and the benefits become apparent before the next election in 2014. No way would UPA have passed GST between 2006 and 2009!

In fact, the political risks of Modi implementing GST in 2017, so close to the next election were apparent to all. You would remember the Congress in mid-2017, not opposing GST, but merely asking for another 3 month delay in implementing it. To push the peak of economic troubles as close to the election as possible. This did not go unnoticed among media commentators.

Congress wanted to push back the implementation of GST

quote from the ET article

Let’s start with some facts. No government across the world has been re-elected after they implemented goods and service tax (GST). Not just that, the benefits of the GST were always reaped by the succeeding government.”

The thing is, GST was always an all party effort. The Congress fully participated in it. They just did not want any of the political risks of it.

You might remember that at the launch ceremony of GST in 2017, the government had invited every former Prime Minister of India to take part. Including, of course, Dr. Manmohan Singh.

But Dr. Singh did not attend. He might have told Jairam Ramesh not to move an amendment on the floor of the Rajya Sabha, when it really mattered. But when it came to taking responsibility, he was nowhere to be found.

That’s classic Dr. Singh for you. In PM Modi’s colorful analogy, wearing a raincoat in the shower.

Right at the time of the launch, PM Modi made it a point to state that this was not an achievement of one party or one government.

PM Modi on implementation of GST

Indeed, it was an all party effort. And that’s even more true than you may realize.

As with most far reaching economic reforms in India, GST was first conceived by Vajpayee’s government, who in 2000 appointed the panel that drafted the basics of GST.

Who was heading that committee? You would be surprised. It was Asim Dasgupta, the Finance Minister in the then Communist government of Jyoti Basu in West Bengal. Indeed, Asim Dasgupta was the only CPIM member to attend the GST launch, despite his party announcing a boycott.

BJP, Congress, CPIM. All colors of the Indian political spectrum. Everyone came together to work on GST. But when it came to the implementation, there was only one man who was willing to take the political risk: Narendra Modi.

Yes, we were not adequately prepared for the pandemic. We were just wrapping up universal toilet coverage. We didn’t have time to build the healthcare infrastructure to hold off a pandemic that has brought the United States and France (ranked #1 in healthcare by WHO) to their knees. Without the pandemic, this would have been the year of the rebound.

PM Modi took a big political risk in 2017. It paid off. Turns out the risk was even bigger than we imagined. He is in the thick of it now, facing the thundershowers. One thing I can assure you. He’s not wearing a raincoat. History will decide in 2024.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Abhishek Banerjeehttps://dynastycrooks.wordpress.com/
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or may not be an Associate Professor at IISc Bangalore. He is the author of Operation Johar - A Love Story, a novel on the pain of left wing terror in Jharkhand, available on Amazon here.  

 

Related Articles

Trending now

Rajdeep Sardesai quits India Today after channel took him off air for spreading fake news

Sources claim that Rajdeep Sardesai termed his suspension and salary cut a big humiliation for him, and decieded to resign from India Today

‘You are a Dalal and a part of Godi Media’: Protestors confront Rajdeep Sardesai

A group of protestors had confronted Rajdeep Sardesai. While Sardesai tried to argue with them, they kept calling him 'Dalal' Dalal'.

‘We have no other money’, Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy offer their NDTV shares as security in lieu of deposit against SEBI penalty

Supreme Court noted that Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy must deposit some security against SEBI penalty, else SAT will not hear their appeal

Canadian MPs urge PM Justin Trudeau to officially condemn China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims

Canadian MP Garnett Genuis said that Canada must recognise and respond to the Uyghur genocide in China.

Rajdeep Sardesai facing heat for peddling lies? Reports claim he is taken ‘off air’ by India Today, faces salary cut

Rajdeep Sardesai has been penalised for spreading fake news that farmer who had died in accident was shot dead by Delhi Police

Watch: Tractor rally rioters had urinated on the walls of Red Fort on Republic Day

The so-called 'farmer protestors' had not only disrespected the Tricolour, they were also seen urinating on the walls of the heritage monument.

Recently Popular

Rajdeep Sardesai quits India Today after channel took him off air for spreading fake news

Sources claim that Rajdeep Sardesai termed his suspension and salary cut a big humiliation for him, and decieded to resign from India Today

Tractor rally: Rioting mob vandalised Ram Mandir and Kedarnath tableaux from Republic Day parade

Rioting mob on Tuesday not only desecrated the Red Fort and tried to kill the Delhi Police personnel but also vandalised the tableau from the Republic Day parade.

Nude images of Thailand King’s royal mistress leaked online, rivalry with Queen suspected: Read details

The leak of the "very explicit" photos of Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi, who is fondly known as 'Koi', is believed to be a result of the bitter rivalry between her and the Queen.

Rajdeep Sardesai lies twice, says ‘farmer’ was killed because the police shot him in the head: Here is the truth

In this way, those who had shared the fake news once would live under the false impression that it was indeed a case of police firing.

‘Flag of Khalistan is waving on Red Fort,’ ‘Historic Moment’: All Pakistan Muslim League celebrates “Black Day” for India

The All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) is celebrating the hoisting of the 'Khalistan Flag' at Red Fort on Republic Day.

Rajdeep Sardesai facing heat for peddling lies? Reports claim he is taken ‘off air’ by India Today, faces salary cut

Rajdeep Sardesai has been penalised for spreading fake news that farmer who had died in accident was shot dead by Delhi Police
- Advertisement -

 

Republic TV files defamation suit against Times Now anchor Navika Kumar, sends notice to Indian Express. Details

The Republic TV petition mentions that Goswami had launched Times Now in 2006 and had taken it to the number 1 position in a year. It adds that Times Now and Kumar are now harbouring professional jealousy against Republic TV because of its success.

Rajdeep Sardesai quits India Today after channel took him off air for spreading fake news

Sources claim that Rajdeep Sardesai termed his suspension and salary cut a big humiliation for him, and decieded to resign from India Today

‘Kiran ki na ka matlab?’ UP Police gets innovative while spreading awareness about consent of women

UP Police used a clip from the movie Darr, that dealt with the topic of respecting the 'no' answer of women, to spread awareness

‘You are a Dalal and a part of Godi Media’: Protestors confront Rajdeep Sardesai

A group of protestors had confronted Rajdeep Sardesai. While Sardesai tried to argue with them, they kept calling him 'Dalal' Dalal'.

‘We have no other money’, Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy offer their NDTV shares as security in lieu of deposit against SEBI penalty

Supreme Court noted that Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy must deposit some security against SEBI penalty, else SAT will not hear their appeal

Canadian MPs urge PM Justin Trudeau to officially condemn China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims

Canadian MP Garnett Genuis said that Canada must recognise and respond to the Uyghur genocide in China.

Video from Punjab: Tractor runs over farm law protestors, kills 2, injures 3 others

The incident occurred near the Attari-Verka bypass in Vallah, Amritsar on 26 January.

Rajdeep Sardesai facing heat for peddling lies? Reports claim he is taken ‘off air’ by India Today, faces salary cut

Rajdeep Sardesai has been penalised for spreading fake news that farmer who had died in accident was shot dead by Delhi Police

Watch: Tractor rally rioters had urinated on the walls of Red Fort on Republic Day

The so-called 'farmer protestors' had not only disrespected the Tricolour, they were also seen urinating on the walls of the heritage monument.

Sexual Assault Vs harassment: Bombay HC Judge who gave ‘skin-to-skin contact’ judgement refuses to charge accused under POCSO

Hearing a criminal appeal against the conviction and sentence awarded to a 50-year-old man for molesting a five-year-old girl, Justice Ganediwala observed that the case comes under the gambit of 'sexual harassment' and not 'sexual assault'.

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
496,912FollowersFollow
23,000SubscribersSubscribe