Senior BJP leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha on Tuesday continued his criticism of the central government with respect to demonetization and the implementation of the Goods and Service Tax.
Indian economy received "two shocks" in the form of demonetisation and GST in quick succession, said Mr Sinha, a former union finance minister. In that article, Mr Sinha, who was the finance minister under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government, had criticised Mr Jaitley over the "mess the finance minister has made of the economy" and said he would be failing in his national duty if he did not speak up.
"During the three and a half years, the stalled projects have decreased a little bit, but projects worth Rs 17-18 lakh crore are still stalled". Sinha added, "At the same time, the non-performing assets of public sector banks remain high, despite the fact that they are unwilling to fund new projects, as new investments are not taking shape". The NPA of around 8 lakh crore still remains. "The current Gross Domestic Product (GDP) does not take into account the unorganized sector". This is deeply flawed. Prominent economist Dr Arun Kumar, one of India's foremost black money experts, created a flutter a few days back when he told media in Ahmedabad that the unorganized sector went down by a whopping 22% during the demonetization phase; even now it is minus 4%. "The damage on unorganised sector would badly reflect but I hope in the future there is some study that shows how these steps have impacted the growth", the former Union finance minister said.
Sinha said one major flaw of the GST was that 40% of the revenue stream was out of GST.
Talking about the same, Dilip Datwani, president, Hotel & Restaurant Association Western India (HRAWI), a leading association of hotels, said, "The reduction in GST is a huge relief". Criticising the concessions, Sinha contended, "There are even now multiplicity of taxes under GST". "When the new government took over in May, the petroleum products were at $110/barrel". But we did not pass on the benefits to the consumers. "When there was too much of pressure, only Rs 2 excise was brought down".
Chewing gum, chocolates, coffee, custard powder, marble and granite, dental hygiene products, polishes and creams, sanitary ware, leather clothing, artificial fur, wigs, cookers, stoves, after-shave, deodorant, detergent and washing power, razors and blades, cutlery, storage water heater, batteries, goggles, wrist watches and mattress are among the products on which tax rate has been cut from 28 per cent to 18 per cent.
On Mr Jaitley's earlier remark that Mr Sinha is looking for a job at the age of 80, Mr Sinha, who insisted that he is not part of any "Margdarshak Mandal", said he is still fit unlike those "who give their speech while sitting", an apparent reference to Jaitley, who had sat down in between his budget speech due to health reasons.