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GST can be India's 'Brahmastra' against global headwinds
Nov '15
New Assocham President Sunil Kanoria has said it is time lawmakers across parties passed the Constitutional Amendment Bill on GST without further delay. This would send a strong signal to investors that India's economy can overcome serious global and domestic challenges with political will, according to an Assocham press release.

He said GST can be a “Brahmastra” for the Indian economy against a very difficult global economic scenario, affected by demand slowdown, uncertain geo-political situation after the Paris terror attacks, and an unprecedented crash in vital commodities.

“GST will harmonise indirect taxes by doing away with multiplicity of taxes. It will also reduce cost of production, which will be then passed on consumers, thus lowering inflation. More striking would be the display of a political unity and the will to rise up to national cause. That will be a great positive for revival of investment, both domestic and international, something most needed at this point of difficult international times,” Kanoria said in his maiden media interaction. Kanoria is also the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of SREI Infrastructure Finance.

“Our GDP growth can rise by 1 to 1.5 per cent by GST alone, going up to 9 per cent by 2018-19 from the present estimated 7.3 per cent if the government gives massive thrust to infrastructure development,” he said.

“The stipulation of additional one per cent duty should not be imposed and the GST should help country to make one India rather than divide India,” Kanoria added.

He urged the Congress Party to support the Goods and Services Bill in the Rajya Sabha. The newly elected Assocham President requested upon the Government as well to reach out to all the political parties for a common cause.

“If the Congress Party or any other national or regional party has some specific concerns, the government should look into the same and address it as far as possible. There can always be a middle ground. Besides, the passage of the Bill would not mean casting it in stone; as the nation starts implementing the new taxation regime, some important lessons can be learnt and incorporated by subsequent changes in the law. But, if there is one thing that our nation needs from its political leadership, it is the GST,” Kanoria said.

On the present state of the economy, Kanoria said one of the main worrying aspects is lack of appetite for fresh investment which is further discouraged by lack of demand as is evident from the latest IIP numbers showing the slowest growth industrial output in four months (3.6 pc) during September.

Kanoria said that the critical challenge was to generate jobs for the one million Indians joining the workforce every month. The only way out was “Employment promotion through entrepreneurship.” This would be the theme of his Assocham presidency. He felt that the challenge was to become a nation of job creators rather than jobseekers. For that, improving the ease of doing business was a critical first step. So was better infrastructure, and more affordable access to finance and information, especially in small towns and villages.

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