We Support GST, Not BJP: Mamata


Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday made it abundantly clear that her government would support the Goods & Services Tax (GST) in Parliament and urged state finance minister Amit Mitra to expedite its passage at the steering committee that he heads.

The next meetings on GST will be chaired by Mitra and it is scheduled on June 14-15 in Delhi. Mitra was selected as the chairman of the empowered committee of FMs for roll-out of GST in February 2016.

Mamata’s unequivocal support is significant for the Narendra Modi government, which is depending on her MP’s support so that the bill can make it through in Rajya Sabha, where NDA does not have the requisite numbers. Mamata’s return to power with an even bigger mandate will mean more Rajya Sabha seats for Trinamool Congress.

While speaking to industry captains at a function in Kolkata, Mamata expressed her impatience at the delay in GST roll-out. that had been delayed for years. The GST proposal was first placed in 2009 during the Congress-led UPA regime. “I am telling have told Amit Mitra to sort out the GST problem in the next two meetings. It has taken a lot of time. Successive governments have failed to act do anything at the Centre. No matter what the Whatever thedifferences are, they should be sorted out and GST should be implemented fast,” added Didi.

The outstanding issues regarding GST includes 1% extra GST on producer states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Punjab. Congress is against it as it was mooted by Gujarat. There are also differences with Congress about the settlement of dispute. The Congress party wants any disputes to be settled by the judiciary, while the Centre wants it to be settled by the GST council. The Bengal chief minister is extremely keen on GST because it will help consumer states like West Bengal to garner more revenue.

Mamata reasoned that her support for GST was because she felt it was a positive tax proposal. “We are fighting for GST because we believe that a one-tax formula will work for the industry. We are opposing the government at the Centre but supporting GST because it is good for people. Politics is fine during elections but political vendetta will not do,” she remarked.

During the election campaign, not only had Mamata faced a scathing attack from the Congress and Left combine, BJP leaders like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party President Amit Shah had also been vitriolic. Brimming with confidence after routing the Opposition, Mamata took a dig at Modi without naming him.

“I know people who are doing publicity but are a big zero. Industry has not been in a good shape in the India last few years. Agencies like IT, CBI and ED are being used to harass businessmen. Why do they have to work in an atmosphere of fear with their phone tapped?” added Didi.