NEW DELHI: Former finance minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha believes that India is in the grip of “tax terrorism”. A sharp critic of the Modi government, the BJP leader also says that electoral victories have never been seen as endorsements for good governance.
Speaking to The Sunday Standard, Sinha said that the scale of “tax terrorism” unleashed unto the people post-demonetisation had never been seen in the country. “Income Tax department has reportedly issued over 1.16 lakh notices in the recent times. The government claims that it’s battling menace of black money. Indeed, tax terrorism has started in the country,” he said.
Arguing that the Modi government has squandered the windfall gain on the back of crude oil price crash, Sinha argued that the upcoming last formal Budget has no scope to unveil “corrective measures to repair damages done by demonetisation and flawed Goods and Services Tax (GST)”. “There will be not enough time for implementation of measures, which could repair the economy since the country will be heading to the Lok Sabha polls in another one year,” Sinha said.
He questioned the government saying “it’s a funny situation that a NITI Aayog member (Bibek Debroy) is heading the PM’s Economic Advisory Council (PM-EAC)”. NITI Aayog and PM-EAC have the same mandate—to advise the PM on economy, yet the two bodies have common experts, noted Sinha.
“I had favoured that the Central government should have about 10-12 schemes, which should be funded 100 per cent by the Centre. But scrapping of a large number of Centrally-sponsored schemes by the Modi government, and changing funding patterns of others to 50:50 and 70:30 between Centre and states, have made poorer states suffer,” Sinha said, adding that the Planning Commission had maintained a balance between the needs of the Centre and states.
Sinha argued that electoral victory has never been an empirical parameter to measure good governance. “NDA lost the 2004 Lok Sabha elections despite the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government being hailed for good governance, while the reign of Lalu Prasad lasted for 15 years despite the hue and cry of jungle raj,” Sinha added