Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday slammed the Congress party for criticising the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and said, “people who have seen only dacoits around them, will naturally think of dacoits only." The Congress party had termed the GST as the 'Gabbar Singh Tax'.
"Our GST model was acceptable to the states because we were sensitive. The Congress President (Rahul Gandhi) tried his best to provoke people against the GST during Gujarat legislative assembly election last year, why did the people reject him?" asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an exclusive interview to news agency ANI.
The prime minister highlighted the loopholes of the GST model, which was earlier proposed by then finance minister (UPA) P Chidambaram and clarified Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) stance on opposing GST during UPA regime.
“The ‘Know It All’ Finance Minister refused to listen to the concerns of the various state governments and adopted a ‘my way or the highway’ approach," said PM Narendra Modi in an apparent reference to then finance minister Chidambaram.
"Not only Gujarat, but most states did not trust the UPA Government to be fair with them. They had not paid the GST compensation to the states which were promised. They were also unwilling to provide GST compensation to the states if they suffered losses in the first 5 years,” said the prime minister.
“It is only when the NDA Government discharged the liability of the past GST compensation and agreed to pay compensation in the event of loss for the first in five years then the GST was possible," he added.
Asserting that the GST model of his government was not opposed by all the parties in Opposition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said only a few who have been continuously rejected by the masses are making baseless points.
"They not only want to misguide but also indulge in opposing for the sake of opposing. Whether it is Yoga, Ayushman Bharat, SwachhBharat, NRC, surgical strikes, their conduct is for everyone to see," he said.
"Being a sensitive Government, we are also taking into account the feedback which comes from people and we are doing corrections wherever required. That is why GST has acquired full faith of people and has made life easier for many of us. People have responded positively as it brings lot of benefits to them and to the economy," he added.
PM Modi further said people, including from the business community have hailed GST.
On being asked about the benefits of implementation of GST, the prime minister said “the number of enterprises registered from Independence until now was 66 lakhs. In just one year after the introduction of GST, the number of new enterprises registered is 48 lakhs,” he said.
“Around 350 crore invoices were processed and 11 crore returns were filed in one year. Doesn't this show wide-spread public acceptance?" Modi asked.