Tue, 16 May 2017
Shri P. Chidambaram said
that the budget session of Parliament will come to a close tomorrow.
The budget session is mainly to transact the financial
business of the government. It is marked by three major events: (1) The Budget;(2)
The Appropriation Bill; and (3) The Finance Bill.
This budget session was special because there was a fourth major
event — the passage of the GST Bills.
The country expected that at the end of the budget session, thanks
to the debates and the information provided by the government, there would be
greater clarity about the state of the economy. Unfortunately, there is no such
clarity. At the end of the session, we are no wiser than we were at the
beginning of the session.
ON THE BUDGET, the Congress Party had pointed out that the
best that could be said about the budget was the nation was relieved that no
more harm was done to the economy. The general consensus was that it was a
totally wasted opportunity. It beat the drums to march that was not there.
ON THE GST BILLS, we had pointed out that they were imperfect
Bills and no attempt was made to make them less imperfect. The Rajya Sabha
could have improved the Bills, but that opportunity was denied when the
government stubbornly turned down the demand that the Bills be introduced,
debated and passed as non-Money Bills. I have no doubt in my mind that in the
medium to long term, GST is extremely beneficial to the country but in the
short term, it might bring us less benefit than the Government claims but I
think it will bring us some benefit. Tuesday, 11th April, 2017