Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha criticised the Centre on Tuesday, this time for introducing five different slabs for the Goods and Services Tax.
“Most countries that adopted the GST have one rate,” he said in an interview with The Hindu. “If that was difficult, then they should have probably fixed two rates, one for State GST and one for Central GST. I don’t know what kind of leadership was provided by Finance Minister [Arun Jaitley] to the GST Council that they went for five rates plus cesses, which made it very complex.”
Sinha accused Jaitley of not “applying his mind” and said the reduction in GST rates for 178 items showed the government’s failure. “Every rollback is an admission of failure, and a massive rollback where you rollback 178 items at one go only proves the scale of the failure.”
He said the Centre’s publicity around its achievements was “unconnected with the reality of what was happening on the ground, for instance the impact of demonetisation and GST”. The former finance minister added that he was worried about the BJP’s future, and the issues he had raised had to be addressed if the party wanted a bigger mandate in 2019 than it received in the 2014 general elections.
He also criticised the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on Tuesday, likening it to a similar move by Tuqhlaq dynasty ruler Muhammad-bin-Tuqhlaq 700 years ago, The Indian Express reported.
“In history, a number of emperors, monarchs and kings have conducted demonetisation,” Sinha said. “About 700 years ago, there was an emperor in this country, Muhammad-bin-Tuqhlaq, who introduced his currency and ended the circulation of the older one. He is infamous in history for shifting the capital of his empire from Delhi to Daulatabad.”
Sinha claimed India had lost Rs 3.75 lakh crore as a result of the note ban.