Of late, the central government has come under strong criticism from various commentators for the decisions it made, namely, demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST). The government has been criticised for the dip in the growth rate caused by these two decisions.
However, all said and done, credit must be given where it is due. The GST has been a monumental reform replacing all indirect taxes by a single tax. The experience of GST in other economies cannot be compared with the Indian experience for the sheer difference in the scale of implementation.
The critics need to understand the multidimensional challenges in the roll-out of GST in a country as big as ours. Initial hurdles were expected and the government did come up with timely responses by simplifying the procedure of submission of return, rationalisation of rates etc to mitigate the difficulties faced by the industries. Now, it seems that the industry has fully embraced the GST and the growth momentum has been restored.
It is widely believed that the GST, and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code are two major reforms that have helped India jump 53 ranks in the index of Ease of Doing Business, released by the World Bank. The government must be credited for bringing in these reforms that have a huge potential to transform the economy. One should not be in a hurry to write off these reforms; rather give them time to bear fruit.
It may be argued that demonetisation did not fully achieve the intended objectives. But can the government be at fault for making sincere efforts to unearth black money? Further, the arguments put forth by the government in support of demonetisation — namely, enhanced digitisation and increase in number of income tax assessee — may not convince many, but these achievements should not be dismissed.
The government has certainly shown strong commitment in walking on the sustained reform path and must be complimented on this than criticised. In a country as diverse as ours, reforms will take time to yield results. One is entitled to criticise the government but the narrative must be built around the positives to pave the way for a brighter tomorrow.
Sanjeev Kumar Singh, Jabalpur
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