UDAIPUR: Deputy chief-minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia claims that he is a big supporter of the proposed Goods and Services Tax(GST) Bill.
However, the Centre’s haste to implement the radical tax reform may adversely impact the country, he says. In an interview, Sisodiya, who is also the AAP in-charge of Rajasthan, spoke to Geetha Sunil Pillai about his views on various issues, AAP’s future in the country and state, among others.
Q. You were among the few finance ministers to oppose the GST draft. What are your concerns?
A. No, in fact, I am one of the biggest supporters of the tax reform as GST is beneficial both for Delhi and the country. However, the Centre is looking at GST with the officer’s lens instead of viewing it from the perspective of taxpayers and tax collectors, specifically traders. If they do not take a ‘country-centric’ approach, this may turn out to be another disaster like notebandi and India is not ready for back-to-back disasters. Some of the flaws such as not including the real estate sector, the dual control system need to be looked into. I am against the proposal to empower the CAG through GST regulations. If they need to empower CAG, they should go by existing provisions and should not use the GST channel as this may curb the powers of states.
Q. Will AAP be able to script history in Punjab & Goa elections?
A. Yes, we are confident about victory and there will be AAP-ki-sarkar in both the states. Punjab for sure. However, I cannot predict the margin of win in Goa, whether we will see the same results as in Delhi. Currently, the party is focusing on strengthening its base in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Q. Arvind Kejriwal is not taken seriously these days and has become a subject of social media ridicule. Is this a BJP strategy?
A. Irrespective of what goes on in the social media, everyone will today agree that Kejriwal has become the brand ambassador of anti-corruption. He is the only person whom the citizens look up to when it comes to exposing scams and corruption. The BJP has nothing in their kitty other than some slogans and, hence, out of frustration at not having done anything remarkable in the past two-and-a-half years, it’s speaking a lot about others. The public, though, is wise enough to realize these tactics.
Q. What would be AAP’s strategy for Rajasthan?
A. Same as we did in Delhi, Punjab and Goa. We will put up candidates in all the 200 seats for Rajasthan polls to be held next year. We have already started ground work and are in search for grassroots workers. We will not field candidates on the basis of caste and religion, but will present real workers who contribute to social causes.
Q. How do you rate the BJP government in Rajasthan?
A. Opening schools in selected cities will not work for the state BJP government. It has failed to miserably deliver on its commitments, especially in providing education to weaker sections of the society. Our priority will be to focus on basic issues such as education, health and ensuring a dignified life for everyone.
Q. AAP has stressed on simplicity and is against its MLAs following VIP culture and demanding big bungalows, etc. Why have you then proposed a pay hike of 400% now?