Foolish note ban, faulty GST derailed economy; voters should decide who will put it back on rails: Chidambaram

Terming note ban as foolish step and Goods and Services Tax (GST) design faulty, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday said both the decisions of the government have derailed the economy.

The Centre should have admitted that it had made a mistake to scrap high value currency notes last year, the former finance minister said, adding that the present GST design is faulty.

With "demonetisation and GST, they have derailed the economy," Chidambaram said at a Congress meeting on SundayE.

"We had to put the economy back on the rails. But who will put it back on rails now? Don't look at us. I am looking at you (the voters). You have to decide who will put the economy back on the rails," the former finance minister said and expressed the optimism that the country will have a government which will be able to correct these mistakes.

"That government will say the maximum tax in GST will be 18 percent and no tax will be higher than 18 percent. That government will say 90 percent of traders and businessmen who are small and medium businessmen, it is ok if you file your returns once in six months. But when that government will be in place is entirely in your hands," he told Congress workers.

Foolish note ban, faulty GST derailed economy; voters should decide who will put it back on rails: Chidambaram

File image of P Chidambaram. PTI

Stating that every businesses is affected by GST, Chidambaram said, "We told them don't do this in a hurry but wait for some time, while traders, and businessmen told them to delay it till September (but to no avail)."

He also said the government implemented GST in a hurry that when businessmen file returns, the whole GST network breaks down.

Noting that the government had brought about as many as 135 changes to the official objectives of demonetisation, he said, "now I am waiting to see when they will make 135 changes to GST. Every day the finance minister is announcing some changes and exemption to the GST framework."

He also said the opposition parties, including the Congress, and the Trinamool Congress have decided to observe 8 November as 'Black Day' and to counter this, BJP will observe 8 November as 'Anti-Black Money Day'.

Admitting that GST is a good tax and a good idea, he said unfortunately this government has given GST a bad name, which is why its appropriate to call it 'Gabbar Singh Tax' and not goods and services tax, Chidambaram said.

From the start, be its design, concept, and rate structure, the GST in the present form is wrong, Chidamabaram said, adding "this government has cheated the people by bringing the GST bills as a money bill" because they don't have majority in the Rajya Sabha.

"The moral of the story is that just because government got absolute majority, it does not mean it will always do the right thing," the Rajya Sabha MP said.

Describing note-ban as a decision driven by total ignorance, he said it was a foolish move, but this government does not have the honesty to admit it made a mistake.

"I think the whole scheme was to help some people who had black money to convert it into white money. It is one of the biggest scams," he said adding "I am sure someday, somebody will enquire into it".

He said none of the objectives of demonetisation -- counterfeit notes, stopping terror funding and black money, as claimed by government have been served.

"Therefore, they shifted the goal posts. No longer they speak about terrorism and fake currency and then they said it was to being in a cashless economy which was an afterthought," he said.

Blaming the government for being completely insensitive to what the people are going through he said "the result is jobless growth. There is some growth but there are no jobs being created".

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Updated Date: Oct 30, 2017 08:57:54 IST

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