Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said in just “15 minutes” the Goods and Service Taxes (GST) bill will be passed in Parliament with the support of Congress once the Modi government accepts the conditions set by his party.
The Congress vice president also attacked the Centre’s ambitious start-up mission, saying there is a contradiction in pushing for start-ups and being “intolerant”. He said the RSS has a very “rigid vision” for India and that start ups require free movement of ideas.
During an interaction with management students here, Rahul accused the Modi dispensation of not taking on board the concerns of the opposition on GST. A “compromise with the government is possible on GST and it is by sitting across the table, but the government is not willing to do so,” said Rahul, a Lok Sabha MP.
“The day the conditions are accepted, we will pass the GST (in Parliament). It will take just 15 minutes,” he said.
“We don’t want a GST where there’s no cap on taxes. We want a limitation on the maximum tax that can be charged. Also, dispute resolution must be fair and neutral. I don’t think its wrong of us to say that,” Rahul said while explaining the conditions put by Congress to back GST.
Asked about roadblocks in implementation of GST bill, he said, “It was Congress which brought in the GST legislation. The BJP then stopped GST in Parliament for seven years. Jaitley then did not allow it to pass. Narendra Modi, as CM of Gujarat, did not allow GST to pass.”
“Jaitley doesn’t have to tell me GST is good. I know its good,” he said.
The constitutional amendment bill to usher in the single tax regime in the country has been stuck in the Rajya Sabha where the BJP is in a minority. The government wants to roll out GST from April 1 and hopes that a consensus will emerge for its passage in the budget session of Parliament that will begin in the second half of February.
Asked about the prospects of start ups, Rahul said, “The ruling dispensation, particularly the RSS, has a clear idea on what the world should look like. They have a vision for India which in my opinion is a very rigid vision. This country requires flexibility, openness and movement of ideas….There’s a huge contradiction in saying I want start ups but I will be intolerant,” the Congress leader said.
“You will fail on the economy and start up front if you are intolerant,” he said.
“Start ups require free movement of ideas. If I say you are a woman and your place is in the kitchen, I am curbing your freedom,” he said.
He also charged that the BJP categorises people. “The BJP has categories: There’s a Hindu for them, a Muslim for them, a woman for them. I don’t categorise. That’s the difference between us and them,” he said.
The Congress vice president later undertook a foot march from suburban Bandra to Dharavi in the metropolis to raise the issue of electricity tariff hike, with a large number of party supporters joining his padyatra.
MRCC President Sanjay Nirupam and former MP Priya Dutt were among the Congress leaders who accompanied Gandhi during the foot march.