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Arun Jaitley must resign for mismanaging GST, says Yashwant Sinha; "agrees": India's GDP growth would be 0-1%

By Our Representative
Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has demanded the resignation of Union finance minister Arun Jaitley for poorly implementing Goods and Services Tax (GST), saying, the recent concessions given by the Government of India are only a reflection of how poor the country's finances are being managed.
"A Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat, Jaitley however does not represent Gujarat... He has been imposed on Gujarat", said Sinha talking media in Ahmedabad, adding, "Actually, Jaitley has taken taken away the Rajya Sabha seat, which should go to someone from Gujarat."
Claiming that he was not in Ahmedabad to make a political statement in the election-bound Gujarat, going to assembly polls next month, Sinha insisted, "The GST should become a simple tax, which hasn't yet happened."
Suggesting that he, as Union finance minister under AB Vajpayee's government, was responsible for coming up with the idea of GST, Sinha said, a committee headed by Vijay Kelkar had suggested it in 2003. "It is still possible to lost around. A new committee should be set up under Kelkar, which should directly interact with the political establishment, including the finance minister, and work out details on how to set things right."
Sinha said, "The new GST, as a simple tax system, should be ready by the time the next budget is introduced in February 2018", adding, "It should do away with adhocism."
Criticising the concessions, Sinha contended, "There are even now multiplicity of taxes under GST. Soon after the BJP came to power in 2014, I had insisted that the aim should be to do away with multiplicity of taxes, as it would lead to lobbying and litigations, which is what is happening."
Pointing out towards how the Indian economy is slipping, first because of demonetization and then GST, referring to his earlier statement that India's actual growth rate is 3.7% and not 5.7% as claimed by the Government of India, he admitted, "This calculation does not take into account the collapse of the unorganized sector due to demonetization."
"The current Gross Domestic Product (GDP) does not take into account the unorganized sector. Based on the growth rate of the manufacturing sector, currently we assume that the unorganized sector is also growing at the same rate. But as demonetization showed, this did not happen", he said answering a Counterview question.
Prominent economist Dr Arun Kumar, one of India's foremost black money experts, created a flutter a few days back when he told media in Ahmedabad that the unorganized sector went down by a whopping 22% during the demonetization phase; even now it is minus 4%. Based on this, Dr Kumar said, India's GDP growth would be 0-1%, and not even 3.7%.
Pointing out that India's manufacturing growth rate is just about 4%, highly insufficient for the country's economy to do well, Sinha said, "If the economy has to grow at a healthy pace, the manufacturing growth rate should be in the double digit. Currently, new investment is not taking place, even though stalled projects because of past policy paralysis have gone down from Rs 24 lakh crore to Rs 15 lakh crore."
Sinha added, "At the same time, the non-performing assets of public sector banks remain high, despite the fact that they are unwilling to fund new projects, as new investments are not taking shape."
Sinha is in Gujarat for what organizers of the media conference, Lokshahi Bachao Andolan, led by former BJP chief minister Suresh Mehta, "to speak up his mind". While he has held an interactive session with a select audience in Ahmedabad after talking to the media, he plans similar meetings in Rajkot and Surat over the next two days.
Before he flew to Ahmedabad on Monday evening, it is reliably learnt, he was asked by top BJP leaders not to go to Gujarat. However, he rejected the suggestion. He is said to have commented on reaching Ahmedabad that he wasn't sure what action would be taken against him after he returns.

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