Refraining from making any political comments, the veteran leader said that the policy decisions of the central government have "slowed down the economy" - and there is an utmost need to speak about the country's "worrying" economic situation.
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. "Those were the non performing assets (NPA) of the banking sector and the stalled projects of over Rs 2-25 lakh crore in the country", he said. The NPAs of around Rs 8 lakh crore still remain to be addressed. Based on the growth rate of the manufacturing sector, now we assume that the unorganized sector is also growing at the same rate.
Adding to the same, Adarsh Shetty, president, Indian Hotels and Restaurant Association (AHAR) also said that the reason for an increase in rates over the last few months is due to the operational costs and raw materials. The economy after the ill-effects of demonetisation received another blow through the GST. "We need to remember that promise, improve the economy and make good on the promise before 2019", said Sinha. And there should be an immediate break on the ad-hoc stance the government is taking on it every other day. Suggesting that he, as Union finance minister under AB Vajpayee's government, was responsible for coming up with the idea of GST, Sinha said, a committee headed by Vijay Kelkar had suggested it in 2003.
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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. "The problem is that whenever the world praises us we accept it but the moment we are criticized we disown it".
"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. "But now that the opposition is asking for it, he suddenly finds it childish".
Chewing gum, chocolates, coffee, custard powder, marble and granite, dental hygiene products, polishes and creams, sanitary ware, leather clothing, artificial fur, wigs, cookers, stoves, after-shave, deodorant, detergent and washing power, razors and blades, cutlery, storage water heater, batteries, goggles, wrist watches and mattress are among the products on which tax rate has been cut from 28 per cent to 18 per cent.
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Criticising high petro-product prices, Sinha, too, favoured its inclusion in GST.
According to sources, Sinha was pressurized by BJP members against visiting the poll-bound state, but he ignored it.
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