Govt.’s ‘stubborn, unbending attitude’ behind GST deadlock: Congress

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New Delhi, Jan. 1 (ANI): The Congress Party on Friday held the government’s stubborn and unbending attitude responsible for the delay in passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill in Parliament.

Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P. Chidambaram said there were initial signs after the Bihar Assembly elections that the government would reach out to the Opposition and adopt a consensual approach.

“That hope was short-lived. As a result, many important legislation remain stalled in Parliament. Let me take the example of the GST legislation. The Congress and some other parties had objected to some provisions of the Bill on weighty and well-reasoned grounds. The government was outright dismissive, until the Chief Economic Adviser virtually endorsed two of the three principal objections and made no recommendation on the third,” Chidambaram told in a press conference here.

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“Yet, the government has not been able to find a way to accommodate the views of the Opposition and pass the GST Bill. I am afraid the government has only to blame itself and its stubborn and unbending attitude,” he added.

Chidambaram said the government has shown no willingness to engage with the Opposition on any important issue.

“Whether it is the conduct of foreign policy, relations with neighbouring countries, the rise of intolerance, communal violence, threats to internal security, momentous legal issues pending in Courts or charges of corruption or misconduct, the government seems to have forgotten that India is a parliamentary democracy and the government is accountable every day to Parliament,” said Chidambaram.

“In our view, the overbearing attitude of the government is mainly responsible for the frequent disruptions in Parliament and the absence of cooperation outside Parliament,” he added.

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Questioning the promises made by the government, Chidambaram further said 2015 has ended on a somber and subdued note.

“At the beginning of 2015, the Government had confidently predicted that the economy will grow at 8.1 to 8.5 per cent in 2015-16. Many promises of the government — more jobs, greater investment and quicker infrastructure development — were premised on a high growth of GDP. I am afraid none of the promises has materialized,” said Chidambaram.

“For the whole of 2015-16, GDP growth is not likely to be higher than 7 to 7.3 percent, which means that it will be the same as, or lower than, in 2014-15. The economy is stuck in a groove,” he added. (ANI)

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