Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday hailed the sweeping changes in the goods and services tax to give relief to small and medium businesses, saying his government does not want the country’s business class to get caught in red-tape.
Asserting that ‘some very important decisions’ related to GST have been taken, the prime minister said, "Today, I have seen newspapers from across the country. They carry headlines that Diwali has come 15 days earlier."
"You all must be busy preparing for Diwali, and in Gujarat, Diwali is celebrated with great enthusiasm, especially among businessmen," he said while addressing a public gathering in Dwarka, Gujarat.
Modi, who arrived in poll-bound Gujarat earlier on Saturday on a two-day visit during which he would inaugurate a number of projects, said the government had earlier stated that it will study the GST for three months following its implementation and then fix the problems.
“(We had said)...Wherever there are problems in these three months, as in the areas of management, shortage of technology, problems related to rules, complaints regarding rates, trouble in practical experience of business class, we will address it," he said.
“We do not want the country's business class to get caught in red-tapism, files, bureaucracy, I will never want this,” Modi said.
The prime minister said that, based on the information the government had, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley convinced everyone at the GST Council meet on Friday.
“I am happy that it has been welcomed in one voice across the country,” Modi said.
When there is trust in the government and honesty is seen behind decisions, then the country joins in despite difficulties, the prime minister said.
“I can experience this and I am thankful to the people of the country for the way they have welcomed our effort to make simple tax simpler,” Modi said.
Three months after the roll-out of the new indirect tax regime, the GST Council yesterday made sweeping changes to give relief to small and medium businesses on filing and payment of taxes, eased rules for exporters and cut tax rates on more than two dozen items.
Taking a dig at the Congress, Modi said, “When Madhavsinh Solankiji was (Gujarat) CM, I recall front page advertisements -- 'CM coming to Jamnagar to inaugurate a water tank'. This is how narrow their concept of development was.”
"We have come a long way since then and we are looking at more all-round and extensive progress," Modi said.
The prime minister said his government was working towards port-led development and empowerment of fishermen.
Stating that the government wants port-led development, he said the blue economy would further help in India’s progress.
"The Government of India is taking steps towards the empowerment of fishermen. We do not want our fishermen to live in poverty, we want to create more opportunities for them," he said.
"Kandla Port is seeing unprecedented growth. This is because we devoted resources to improve the port. New lease of life was added to Alang; steps were taken for the welfare of the labourers working there. These are the steps we are taking towards development," Modi said.
He also stated that Marine Police Training Institute will come up in Devbhoomi Dwarka district.
"Marine policing is a sector we are looking at very closely. We are modernising marine security apparatus. An institute for this will be set up in Devbhoomi Dwarka. It will draw people and experts from all over India," he said.
Earlier in the day, Modi laid the foundation stone of a four-lane cable-stayed bridge between Okha and Beyt Dwarka and said it was a link between the old and new Dwarka.
The 2.32 km bridge, including 900 metres of central double span cable-stayed portion, will be constructed at a cost of Rs 962.43 crore.
"There were lots of possibilities of development in the tourism sector here, but earlier the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government had an indifferent attitude towards Gujarat because of the BJP (Bahartiya Janata Party) government in the state... I clearly remember," Modi said, referring to his days as Gujarat chief minister.
He also offered prayers at the famous Dwarkadhish temple.
Last month, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had also started his Gujarat political campaign by visiting the Dwarkadhish temple.
During his three-day campaign tour across Saurashtra region of the state, Gandhi had visited four other famous temples. The Assembly polls are due in the state later this year.