Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today attacked Congress for stalemate in Parliament, saying some people are getting “sadistic pleasure” by not allowing the GST bill to get passed but it would eventually get through and the ‘last laugh would be the best’.
The Minister also expressed hope that the Indian economy would do better in the coming fiscal on the likelihood of a good monsoon as the rains in the past had never remained deficient for three consecutive years.
The Minister was speaking at the ET Awards function here along with Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
“Democracy doesn’t work in that manner. It’s obvious that not allowing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill to pass (is) giving some people sadistic pleasure. And then democracy has its own strength and the last laugh is always the best one.”
The Constitutional Amendment bill to roll out the GST is stuck in the Rajya Sabha because of the stiff opposition by the Congress party though several regional parties, including the JDU, RJD and BJD, were in favour of the new indirect tax regime.
“Almost everyone is on board. I have never seen a complete coalition of regional parties supporting a particular proposal. Even the UPA allies are supporting it. RJD has said they are supporting it, the JDU has said they are supporting it, the NCP... so it is only one political party which is opposed to it.
“... when I speak to the mid-command of the party, I come back with a sense of optimism. And when I meet them just before Parliament is about to commence at 11 am every morning, I think the high-command prevails over the mid-command. The problem is not with the Indian politics, the problem I think, is with a few individuals.”
“At the same time, everybody who analyses what’s going on in India, also realises that if in an adverse situation we have potential to grow, let’s say at 7.5 per cent, then the Indian normal cannot be 7.5 per cent.
“The Indian normal has to be higher... it’s possible for us to achieve what the Indian normal is,” Jaitley said. He added that the government is working in the direction of taking India to a high growth path.
“We have taken several decisions over the last 19 months and each one of them (is) moving in one direction. The saving grace (is) that in terms of changing direction, India hasn’t committed a mistake,” he said.
Jaitley said the country will grow at 7-7.5 per cent and adding an extra 1-1.5 per cent growth to “get that cutting edge” would depend on several factors like monsoon and global growth.
“I think the world is not going to be extremely helpful in most areas... There are going to be crisis like situation thrown up by an economy somewhere around the world. And you would have multiple crisis.
“The last one week you saw the Chinese currency and oil prices both converging at the same and therefore creating an upheaval across the world and therefore what is our own ability to sustain this...,” Jaitley said.