GST: A Tale of Acronyms and Progress
The Government of India, in a historic event of which we are all aware, passed the Goods and Services Tax, commonly known as GST, on 1 July 2017. The amendment bill, with a good deal of publicity associated with it in the past, gathered quite a lot of attention among both, the political strata and the common man during its launch. What made the GST a breaking headline was that it not only frightened the public, especially the business class, causing demonstrations and strikes but also perplexed the common man in a manner which could have proved very harmful to the BJP-led government. The confusions among the masses, that followed the bill, became a matter of political blame game in no real time.
Even after 4 months of the launch of the bill, the populace remains divided in its opinions about GST’s instrumentality. But the scene currently appears to be heated in the political spectrum. The present opposition, the same set of parties which attempted to launch GST in 2010, is now vehemently speaking against the bill.
The Acronym Attack
Rahul Gandhi, Congress Vice President and a fervent speaker from the opposition, made it to the headlines last month for renaming GST as the Gabbar Singh Tax. His object behind rechristening the acronym, as is obvious, was to bring to the government’s notice the level of their insensitivity towards the masses for imposing a tax as heinous as Gabbar Singh himself. Known for his unique comments during public addresses, the Congress Vice President not only targeted the government in a hilariously sarcastic way but also presented the opposition leaders with a new weapon of attack on GST and the government.
Sharing the same spirit as Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took to Twitter to denounce the GST along with the government. “Great Selfish Tax (GST) to harass the people. To take away jobs. To hurt businesses. To finish the economy. GoI totally failed to tackle”, she tweeted earlier this month. Nitish Kumar, P Chidambaram, and various other leaders from the opposition have also chided the centre’s step to launch the bill.
The GST, as controversial as it has been since its beginning, has presently become the principal reason for the opposition’s outbreak on the government.
While the political parties of the country have widely spoken against this bill since its very start, the World Economic Fund, on the other hand, has appreciated the bill as a welcome step for India’s economic growth. India ranked at number 40 in the recently-announced World Competitive Index compiled by the WEF. The forum also declared that this is India’s highest score in the index and that the country is number one amongst all South Asian nations.
The irony with this battle against GST is that, while the national leaders are bent on criticizing it on every ground, the bill has received much appreciation from top international leaders like International Monetary Fund Chief and World Bank President. “Prime Minister Modi took a very different approach to the Doing Business report and took substantial reforms. We are very encouraged by this,” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim was quoted saying during a conference in the United States.
India’s economy has been subjected to a multitude of changes in the recent years, with some major reforms such as Demonetization and GST. While the political leaders of the country continue to target the centre for their failure to implement these policies with the optimum resources, there is some ray of hope that shines with the positive comments from various international foundations. With the background of the acronym attack on GST, the common public would wish for it to be helpful to the country’s and their own economic plight.