NEW DELHI: Taking potshots at BJP-led NDA government, former finance minister P Chidambaram on Friday said that the government is not respecting the views of Opposition in passing the long-pending good and services tax (GST) Bill in Parliament.
The senior Congress leader said after the Bihar elections, there were initial signs that the government would reach out to the Opposition and adopt a consensual approach. That hope was short-lived. As a result, many important legislations remain stalled in Parliament.
Taking the example of the most debated and controversial indirect tax bill (GST), Chidambaram said, “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. Yet, the government has not been able to find a way to accommodate the views of the Opposition and pass the GST Bill.”
Chidambaram further said, “The government was itself at fault behind the deadlock over the important legislation. I am afraid the government has only to blame itself and its stubborn and unbending attitude.”
Further, the government failed to deliver on its promises on all counts, he charged. “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 materialised. On the contrary, 2015 has ended on a somber and subdued note,” Chidambaram said.
“For the whole of 2015-16, GDP growth is not likely to be higher than 7 to 7.3 per cent, which means that it will be the same as, or lower than, in 2014-15. The economy is stuck in a groove,” he noted.