Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday that the Goods and Services Tax Bill was “a very big and important step” towards getting the country rid of “tax terrorism”.
Participating in the debate in the Lok Sabha on the amendments to the GST Bill, Modi said that passage of the legislation will send the message that “consumer is the king”.
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Modi started his speech by paying tributes to freedom fighters on the eve of the anniversary of the Quit India movement.
“As we remember them (the freedom fighters), the two houses of parliament, the parliamentarians collectively are taking a very big and important step towards getting rid of tax terrorism,” Modi said.
The Rajya Sabha last week unanimously passed the Constitution amendment bill to pave the way for the introduction of a pan-India Goods and Services Tax regime.
The government had moved amendments to the bill earlier passed by the Lok Sabha to accommodate concerns of opposition parties.
Thanking all parties for supporting the bill, PM said “credit goes to each & every member, all political parties, all those who kept on trying.”
On the other hand while questioning PM Modi’s earlier views on the bill, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge bluntly asked BJP leaders, why their party had opposed the GST Bill when the UPA was in power, with Modi, then Gujarat Chief Minister, terming it “anti-states”.
“We are getting all the blame, a perception has gone we (Congress) stalled the GST. Actually it is you all (BJP) who opposed it,” Kharge said in the Lok Sabha while participating in the GST bill.
He said the issues raised by Congress should have been addressed earlier.
Pointing towards Prime Minister Modi, who was present in the house, Kharge said as Gujarat chief minister, Modi himself had opposed the GST.
“You ruled there for 13 years. If you had agreed about the merits of GST earlier, it would have been implemented long back and the country would have benefited long back,” he said.
“So please stop blaming us… that Congress has stalled GST,” he said.
Kharge also said the government should not try to push the GST bill as a money bill.
Earlier, another Congress member Deepender Singh Hooda also said the GST bill should not be considered as a money bill.
Kharge’s remark that all BJP leaders insist on describing the central government as “Modi Sarkar” and “not BJP Sarkar” drew laughter even from the Prime Minister.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi was also present in the house.
(With IANS Inputs)