My Press Briefing in AICC – 19-December-2018



Highlights of the Press briefing

Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, MP, Spokesperson, AICC and Shri Pawan Khera addressed the media today at AICC Hdqrs.

Modi ji termed Rahul Gandhi’s demand for a 18% (or less) GST rate as ‘Grand Stupid Thought’ – 3 State Electoral Forced him to Apply the Same !

Doublespeak, Duplicity, Dishonesty of PM Modi & FM Jaitley now out in the Open!

100 days are left for the Lok Sabha elections to take place, and PM Modi has suddenly woken up to the fact that the GST implemented by his Government is poorly implemented.

The Congress party which was the original proponent of the GST, has been hammering the fact from day one, that the GST implemented by the Modi Govt is NOT ‘One Nation, One Tax’ but ‘One Nation Seven Taxes’ with rates as – 0.25%, 3%, 5%, 12%, 18%, 28% and 40% (which was later shelved) and possibly more!  Congress President, Shri Rahul Gandhi has been at the forefront of demanding a SINGLE Tax Rate for GST- not exceeding 18%. Congress party leaders had been demanding the same since 2015, but Mod Government did not listen to the voice of people.

After a deep slumber and when the alarm bells for the BJP have started ringing in the Hindi heartland, PM Modi has suddenly woken up. In a media conclave, yesterday, he has ‘hinted’ that 99% of all items would be taxed at 18% or at less. This is still a ‘HINT’ and NOT a ‘DECISION’.

Since the rollout of GST from July 1 last year, the GST Council has undertaken four rounds of rate rationalization — October 6, November 10, January 18 and July 21. Thanks to Gujarat elections, GST rates on many items reduced from 28% to 18% and Thanks to Gujarat elections, Modi Govt was also forced to heed advice of the Congress party and experts on flaws in implementation of GST.

It is important to note that the back in 2017, before the flawed implementation of a poorly crafted GST, the Chief Economic Adviser to this government had clearly recommended a GST rate of 15-15.5 per cent and demonstrated that it was a revenue neutral rate. But an arrogant Modi Government drunk with power, refused to heed to its own CEA. Infact, a midnight celebration of enforcing taxes on the people of India was held by the Modi Government in Parliament.

Flashback on PM Modi, FM Jaitley & their Govt’s statements on Congress’ rightful remand of ‘One Nation, One Tax’ Rate for GST:-

  1. On July 1 2018, on the first anniversary of the flawed implementation of GST. Finance Minister argued that the idea of a SINGLE tax rate GST is a ‘flawed’ one.

He wrote and we quote

“Rahul Gandhi has been advocating a single slab GST for India.  It is a flawed idea.  A single slab GST can function only in those countries where the entire population has a similar and a higher level of paying capacity.  Being fascinated by the Singapore model is understandable but the population profile of a state like Singapore and India is very different.  Singapore can charge 7% GST on food and 7% on luxury goods. Will that model work for India? Since GST is a regressive tax, the poor have to be given a substantial relief.  Thus most food items – agricultural products and the Aam Aadmi used products have to be tax exempt.”

We want to ask Shri Arun Jaitley- What changed in the past 5 months, that now the Modi Govt is forced to adopt the ‘Flawed Idea’ of Single Tax Rate? Was it the absolute drubbing they received from the hands of the electorate in 5 states or was something else?

2.In July, this year, PM Modi exhorted that “Milk, Mercedes can’t be taxed at single GST rate.”

He said “Can we have milk and Mercedes at the same rate? So, when our friends in Congress say that they will have just one GST rate, they are effectively saying they will tax food items and commodities, which are currently at zero or 5% at 18%,”

We want to ask PM Modi, what forced this stupendous reversal & roll back!

3.In July, this year; Union Finance Minister Shri Piyush Goyal stated that  the demand for a single rate in Goods and Services Tax (GST) was a ‘ridiculous suggestion’. He also found it amazing when the demand for a single GST rate is raised.

Unfortunately, what Mr Goyal seems to forget is, the same government, which he represents, had at midnight on 30 June 2017 launched GST as ‘One Nation, One Tax, One Market’.

4.On Nov 29 2017, during the Gujarat Election Campaign, PM Modi made an outrageous remark stating that Congress President, Shri Rahul Gandhi’s demand for a Single Tax rate in GST is “Grand Stupid Though’. Acronym Expert, Modiji is however not an ‘Economic Expert’.  Yesterday he almost forced to concede to Shri Rahul Gandhi’s demand.

‘Modi-nomics’ is the art of backstabbing people with flawed economic decisions, ruining their livelihood with unwitting announcements, stealing their jobs with economic mismanagement and forcing the small businesses to shut down by unleashing economic anarchy.

A latest survey by All India Manufacturers’ Organization (AIMO) points out that – Traders and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across the country have reported steady job loss and declining profits since 2014 and demonetization, the roll-out of GST are among the reasons for the slowdown. The survey reveals that the operational profits of traders across the country have dropped drastically by about 70% since 2014. It underlines that the job loss were reported at the rate of 43% in the trader segment, micro-segments reported job losses of 32%, small segments reported 35% and medium-scale industries reported 24% job losses.

This is PM Modi’s legacy of Economic Mismanagement & Jumlas!

To a question on alliance, Dr. Singhvi said, No, I don’t agree with your analysis.. These are early days. We are in December. There is no question of stitching alliances, closing doors or opening doors. I think that level of discussion and interaction has now started. Certainly you are right in saying that there is an understanding on alliance  of some sort between two parties in UP. That is not to say that we have been or other parties have been part of that process at the moment. That is neither to include nor to exclude. At best you can say this issue is open. I can only say that in the near future and in the coming months and weeks, You will find that though at the moment no initiative, no formal talks, no semi-formal talks have happened. Everybody here realizes the importance of minimizing and preventing vote  division and you have to wait for the story to unfold in January and February. I think this is premature to come to any conclusion yet. I am not saying in the affirmative or in the negative.

To another question, Dr. Singhvi said, the Congress Party is certainly keen and ready to be part of any secular, non-communal, reasonable alliance, understanding, adjustment by whatever name is called, I do not like the words ‘Gathbandhan’, ‘Mahagathbandhan’ or ‘Mini-gathbandhan’. But, Yes it is – provided (a) it is respectable (b) it does not cause harm not only to the other parties but also to Congress Party and (c) it is effective in preventing vote division; that is the mantra of getting together but we are now talking of a process which has not yet started. We have neither been included nor been excluded.

On another question on Uttar Pradesh, Dr. Singhvi said, I did not say ‘keen’ on alliance; I said we are open to give an alliance provided these conditions are met.

To a further question, Dr. Singhvi said, let us not mix up social courtesies with political decision making which is a hard, solid, reason, logic decision making. I do not know his programme, I cannot say whether I will go there or not go there but I can certainly tell you that the Congress Party, Shri Rahul Gandhi and Smt. Sonia Gandhi in particular have maintained the highest levels of social courtesies of all kinds of proper conduct and what to talk of Mayawati Ji  and Akhilesh Yadav Ji and their respective parties. Even those who are antagonistically opposed to us, which these parties are not really in any major sense, even there we have maintained these  social courtesies.

To another question, Dr. Singhvi said, these are matters of detail. You know what I mean, you have to allow that process to unfold and let me tell you today it remains the BJP and Shri Modi’s biggest terror that different state-wide adjustments, understanding, alignments will happen. This does not mean that there is some kind of an all India big word which you are using but state-wide, state-level, constituency wise, and region level and that is the biggest terror which the BJP and Shri Modi are reeling under.

On another question, Dr. Singhvi said, I can’t use an unqualified word like ‘support’. It is definitely an improvement. It is definitely taken care of some of our concerns and I cannot hesitate but say that it took a long time for them to realize the correctness just like it took three years to realize the correctness of our GST rate which I have just spoken about. There may still be some teething problem. We will look into details but if it is otherwise Okay, we are prepared for constructive action, I can’t say ‘support’ at the moment but we will look into.

To a further question on Privilege Motion, Dr. Singhvi said, I think there are lots of ifs and buts. There may be lot of ifs and buts there because we do not have the report yet. The last I heard is lot of different viewpoints given in the Committee. That is only on the basis of newspaper reports. I think that matter is important as this, will come to Parliament in a very reasoned long debate when we get the time but the basic point which appears to be staring in the face as to what extent people support something which appears to be discriminatory and to what extent that discrimination is based on religion. These are issues of law, constitutional validity of logic of reason as we have seen to go into it. Certainly there are lots of parties here who might not want to react to discriminatory or region based distinction.

On another question related to the no electoral victory, Dr. Singhvi said- I agree with you that no electoral victory and no electoral defeat, it is a single point agenda or a dual point result. To that point agree. It is not that you win or lose by only point A or only point ‘B’. But, let me tell you that the General Akrosh anger resentment against the Government is based on multiple factors and the cumulative impact of that is important, two of which contributing in a big way for cumulative impacts are certainly GST and Demonetization.

Let me flip your point the other way round. There is no major victory by them except in UP. By which time actually the effects of these two had not really pended it out. Gujarat was a whisker. They were ultimately not able to get majority in Karnataka. Tripura, yes they made gains. Across the country, they have lost many elections after that. Do you think, Goa was a victory? Do you think Manipur was a victory? Gujarat technical victory, technical knock out. Even the BJP does not consider it to be a victory. Karnataka, these three states, so as the effect unfolds, people realize the true effect of these.

On a question related to UP Elections, Dr. Singhvi said- it is not a question of waiting. These are hard issues of logical concentration. They take time. You can rest assure that if it is so to happen, it will happen within a reasonable time frame. Let me not speculate on this. But by the end of the day, if things don’t turn out, we are a national party; we have fought elections on our own. In U.P. we will fight fully and totally but, we would like only because it should not benefit by vote division to the BJP. That is the basic object of trying to lean over backwards in getting the best for the country.


(Vineet Punia)


Communication Deptt.



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