BJP attacks Centre on GST issue

New Delhi: A BJP member from Gujarat on Friday attacked the Centre over the issue of Goods Services Tax (GST) wondering what will happen to states` autonomy if the measure was implemented.

Participating in the resumed debate on general budget Vijaykumar Rupani (BJP) accused the government of making the state assemblies "null and void" and said that levying taxes and exempting it on goods is their right.

"When you implement GST, what will happen to the autonomy of the states? When you implement GST, the government should also be alert about the autonomy of the states," he said, demanding a clear explanation from the government on it.

The issue of GST has become a bone of contention between the UPA and BJP with all BJP-ruled states opposing the Centre on the issue.

Rupani also demanded a ban on forward trading in commodities holding it responsible for the rise in prices of onion.

He said the Committee headed by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to suggest ways to deal with price rise and improve the public distribution system (PDS) has already given this recommendation.

Rupani also attacked Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee over the introduction of 18.5 per cent minimum alternate tax (MAT) for the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) saying it did the greatest injustice to Gujarat and will affect the state having the largest number of SEZs.

Resenting absence of any of the finance ministers during the debate, BJP members were on their feet disrupting proceedings for about ten minutes.

Ramdas Agrawal (BJP) said it was insult to the House that nobody from Finance Ministry is present during a debate on budget. Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar was the only representative present from the government side.

Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan agreed that one of the finance minister should have been present, but urged the members to continue the debate.

Normalcy was restored when the Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena arrived in the House.

Raising the issue of corruption, Bal Chandra Mungekar (Nom) said huge tax evasions by people Hasan Ali Khan is not acceptable and wondered what the Income Tax department was doing.

Wondering how food inflation was possible when huge stocks of foodgrains were there in the buffer stock, he said, "It is the obligation on the part of the government to deal with the issue of inflation."

He described the Public Distribution System as "complete failure".