Ahmedabad: Senior BJP leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha on Tuesday again hit out at Modi government on demonetisation and implementation of the Goods and Service Tax (GST).
Sinha also criticised Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for “failing the people” of the country.
“The people of India can demand the finance minister’s job for a slowed down economy and failures of the demonetisation and GST,” Sinha said. “The present government received some problems from the previous government which badly needed to be addressed. Those were the non performing assets (NPA) of the banking sector and the stalled projects over 25 lakh crore,” he added.
Sinha said that though the number of stalled projects had somewhat decreased in the last three-and-a-half years, projects worth Rs 17-18 lakh still remained stalled.
“Old projects have not moved forward and no new projects have been taken up. The NPA of around 8 lakh crore still remains. Due to this the growth rate has fallen,” he said, adding that the growth rate that stood at 4.7% during the UPA regime was in fact at 3.5% now in reality and not 5.7% as claimed.
“The method of calculation of GDP is that it calculates the growth of organised sector and imagines that unorganised sector has made a similar growth. This is deeply flawed. In context of demonetisation and GST, the maximum impact has been on the unorganised sector. The damage on unorganised sector would badly reflect but I hope in the future there is some study that shows how these steps have impacted the growth,” the former Union finance minister said.
Sinha said that one of the biggest flaw in the GST was that 40% of the revenue stream, including petroleum products, alcohol and some aspects of construction sector, were out of the purview of GST. “If we bring these under GST, people of India will get relief,” he said.
Criticising high petro-product prices, Sinha, too, favoured its inclusion in GST. “When the new government took over in May, the petroleum products were at $110/barrel. These crashed to $30 by August. But we did not pass on the benefits to the consumers. We captured the benefit through taxation. When there was too much of pressure, only Rs 2 excise was brought down.”
Though he said that recent reduction in GST rates was “welcome”, it was not enough.
Sinha, who is on a three-day visit to poll bound Gujarat on an invitation by the outfit Lokshahi Bachao Andolan, has been a member of the BJP s ‘margdarshak mandal’ set up in 2014 to guide the party. He, on his part, denied it. “I am not part of any mandal, especially margdarshak mandal,” he said.