Declaring the time-wasting of the proposed Goods and Services Tax Bill as a loss for poor people of the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that the changing party arithmetic in Parliament gave hope for enacting the law.
"There is just one group which has made it the issue of prestige," Modi said, referring to the Congress' opposition to the GST Bill, in an interview with ‘Times Now’ news channel.
"Now the kind of arithmetic which is working out, I hope that this decision is passed in favour of the poor.
"GST is beneficial for the poor people of the states represented by them, because those states will economically benefit the most from GST.
"Not having GST straightaway means loss for the poor of Uttar Pradesh, of Bihar. Not passing the GST would mean loss for the poor people of poor states like Bengal, Orissa and Assam," he added.
The pan-India GST for a through overhaul of the country's indirect tax regime has been passed by the Lok Sabha, but has been stalled in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling NDA lacks a majority.
However, after a meeting of Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on GST in Kolkata earlier this month, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that every state had either supported or accepted the proposed GST, except Tamil Nadu, which expressed its reservations and offered suggestions.
The model GST law approved at the state finance ministers' meeting has thereafter been published, inviting comments from stakeholders.
He also condemned BJP MP Subramanian Swamy's attack on Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan and top finance ministry officials, saying "it was not right".
"Whether it is someone from my party or not, I believe that such things are inappropriate. The nation won't benefit from such publicity stunts. One should be more responsible while conducting themselves," Modi told ‘Times Now’ news channel in an interview.
"Anyone who believes he is bigger than the system is wrong," he added.
Swamy had publicly attacked Rajan saying he was "mentally not fully Indian". He also wrote to the Prime Minister demanding that Rajan be denied an extension. Later, Rajan announced that he was not taking a second term.
Modi said that when his government took over in May 2014, there was a perception that Rajan would not be allowed to complete his term as the RBI governor, but it was proved otherwise.
The PM reiterated his warning to tax evaders to come clean on undisclosed income by September 30, saying that while he did not intend to raise taxes, the government needs revenue for running social development programmes.
"There is no need to increase the taxes. The country can run without troubling the citizens. I am working towards it. That is why I have given the citizens a chance to pay the taxes till 30th September," Modi said in an interview to Times Now news channel.
"If they think they want to come into mainstream, they must and shouldn't be worried. After 30th September, the government will have to take steps.
"If I need to give houses to the poor, we would need revenue. I don't want to increase taxes, I just want taxes to be paid honestly.
"It is definitely a warning. It is a warning. My first warning is to my government officers to not presume citizens as thieves. I have already given this warning," he added.
“When my government was formed in May 2014 there was more or less consensus that he (Rajan) was appointed by the previous government and so Modi won't let him complete his tenure and will remove him. You have seen, that he worked his entire tenure. So all the misconceptions have been dispelled,” Modi said.