The Congress today lashed out at the ruling BJP government in office, stating the "Government is using the GST as a smokescreen to hide their failures on the economy". Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma today termed the 19-month Modi government as a failure on all fronts and solely interested in pursuing vendetta politics. Rejecting the government charge that Congress was stumbling block to the GST, the Congress alleged that the "tall talks of the government hide the reality that under any circumstances the GST cannot be implemented within three months by April 2016". Getting the three legislations passed, ratified and the infrastructure network coordinated with government departments right upto municipality level by April was practically not feasible, Congress claimed.
Sharma questioned whether the non-passage of a bill (GST) can be held responsible for "free-fall" of the economy. "This is a smokescreen of the government to hide its failures, " he asserted.
Sharma who is also the Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, the house where the GST legislation is pending, said that the Congress was still open to talks with the government on the GST bill. "But why does the interaction with the Opposition have to be centred on any one piece of legislation", asked Sharma.
The party has been maintaining that the government did not believe in taking the Opposition on board in crucial decision making.
The Congress, he said, was insistent on a cap on the GST rate to be worked into the constitutional amendment bill. A dispute redressal mechanism and the doing away of the one percent additional tax are the two other demands of the Congress. The Opposition party has also been questioning why electricity, petroleum, alcohol and tobacco have been exempted from the GST ambit.
The former Union minister hauled up the BJP government for non-creation of jobs, slow growth of the economy, farmer suicides and "tearing apart the social security net by crippling cuts in the budgetary allocations".
Sharma said, "The GDP growth has been almost flat, Investment sentiment is poor, non- creation of capital assets and sharp escalation in the Debt to GDP ratio", which have been the hallmarks of the government.
Training his guns on the Prime Minister , he said, "Ironically, for a leader and party who had promised transparency and accountability, the Prime Minister, instead of taking any action, has practiced only double-standards, double-speak and hypocrisy."
Alleging that the government has been "insensitive to the poor and under-privileged people", Sharma said, "It has shown callous disregard to the plight of the Indian farmers, who have been severely affected by the ongoing agrarian distress, floods and droughts in many parts of the country."