June 30, 2017
In conversation with West Bengal Finance Minister Dr Amit Mitra on GST
A long-standing advocate of the Goods and Services Tax, West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra will not be attending the GST rollout event on June 30. This as his party – Trinamool Congress – has decided to boycott the event.
In 2009, the Trinamool Congress manifesto had inserted with Mamata Banerjee’s explicit support the in-principle support for GST, same as my enthusiasm in the past,
“As the chairman of the Empowered Committee of Finance Ministers, I was able to bring about the first-ever consensus on GST in the Kolkata meeting. We decided on a Constitutional Amendment Bill, placed by the UPA government in 2011, not the BJP. The GST Council was formed after the Constitutional Amendment Bill came in”, Mitra said.
The BJP opposed the GST for 7 years in every manner possible. I had to fight them when I was in Delhi. The then Gujarat chief minister, who is now the Prime Minister, had opposed it then. “The BJP, after coming into power, has shown a somersault”, he added.
“26 of my suggestions had to be accepted by the GST Council because of the force of logic. About 2 months ago, I started saying in the Council we need to make sure that everybody is prepared for this. Trinamool wants GST to succeed nationally”, Mitra said. “Why have those running small and medium enterprises, which are 80 per cent of India’s employment provider, 40 per cent of India’s GDP gone on strike?”
“Mamata Banerjee has said that we are not against GST rollout. But we are not yet ready for it, postpone it for now”, Amit Mitra said.
Published on India Today, June 29, 2017