Senior BJP leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha on Tuesday continued his criticism of the central government with respect to demonetization and the implementation of the Goods and Service Tax.
Sinha also criticised the finance minister Arun Jaitley for ‘failing the people’ of the country, saying that India is well within its right to demand that Jaitley lose his job.
He was talking about the economic effects of demonetisation and GST on the Indian economy at a press conference organised by a group of people under the banner of ‘Lokshahi Bachao Andolan’.
Sinha also questioned Jaitley calling Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi ‘childish’ for demanding single tax rate. “Go back in history and see what Jaitley said. He said we will eventually become to a single tax rate system. When others call for it, it is childish, when he says it so very mature,” said Sinha.
On the government’s recent reduction in rates, Sinha said the move was welcome but not enough. “When we campaigned in 2014 we promised to create 2 crore jobs every year. We need to remember that promise, improve the economy and make good on the promise before 2019,” said Sinha.
Sinha said one major flaw of the GST was that 40% of the revenue stream was out of GST. He said bringing products like petrol under GST will help lower the price.
Addressing the media, Sinha said that the idea behind demonetization was to end the issue of black money, but the government had failed to do so. Earlier, the former finance minister had questioned demonetization on the first anniversary of Prime Minister Narendra Modi scrapping old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
To a question on India improving its ranking in the ease of doing business index, Sinha said it was a thing to be proud of.
“But the problem is that whenever the world praises us we accept it but the moment we are criticised we disown it. It is more important that we worry about what India thinks of us than what the world thinks,” Sinha added.
Notebandi (demonetization) has failed as its objective was not fulfilled. There is no black money return,” Sinha said, adding that 99% of the currency had returned.
While speaking of the GST, Sinha said that it was a good thought, but the implementation and final structure had led to more problems.
“The finance minister did not apply his mind while rolling out the Goods and Services Tax and that’s why he is tinkering with GST everyday…,” Sinha told reporters on the sidelines of an event organised by former Bihar speaker Uday Narayan Choudhary on reservation.
Jaitley, he added, has made a mess of GST.
“The prime minister should bring a new finance minister. I am saying this with full responsibility,” Sinha said.
In September this year, in a newspaper article headlined, ‘I need to speak up now’, Yashwant had criticised Jaitley over what he called the ‘mess the finance minister has made of the economy’ and flayed demonetization and the way the GST had been rolled out.
Sinha, a member of the BJP s ‘margdarshak mandal’ that was set up in 2014 to guide the party, has also said a revival by the time of the next Lok Sabha elections due in 2019 was ‘highly unlikely’ and a ‘hard landing’ appeared inevitable.
BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha also came out in support of his party colleague Yashwant Sinha, saying he was a true statesman and had shown the government the mirror.