Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday said the country’s economy has been severely affected due to the demonetisation and hasty implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST).
“Our economy has been dealt a severe blow following the demonetisation and ill-planned implementation of GST. This has created a nationwide economic crisis,” CM Vijayan said during an interaction with senior editors of the Indian Express Group after launching the app of ieMalayalam.com, the Kerala-focused Malayalam website from The Indian Express. He also unveiled Kerala@60, a video series on the aspirations of the state’s thought leaders.
His response came days after senior BJP leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha launched a stinging attack on the government over handling of the economy. In his article in The Indian Express, Sinha had blamed Finanace Minister Arun Jaitley for the “mess” in the economy and pointed out that the economy is in a downward spiral and that its revival is unlikely by the 2019 elections.
“What use is GST to the government if it is a pain for the people,” Vijayan asked while pointing out the flaws in implementing the indirect tax system. “We cannot term GST as a good idea in any way because through its implementation the Centre has taken away the federal rights of states to collect the tax,” the Kerala CM added.
Vijayan further said the Centre should have started working actively to rectify the flaws of the GST when it started emerging. “The government should have asked the opinion of various states. I also shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to call a meeting of chief ministers and state finance ministers. But nothing of the sort happened,” Vijayan said.
Commenting on the increasing cases of intolerance and communal related events, Vijayan said Kerala has always taken a strong stand against communalism. “This is also because of the strength of the leftist ideology. The time has arrived when a strong stand needs to be taken against communalism and divisive politics,” he observed.