Responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former union finance minister, P Chidambaram asked if the Chief Economic Adviser was also stupid. The statement came in response to the criticism of the Congress by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for demanding an 18 percent cap on GST rates.
"If it is Grand Stupid Thought to argue for a cap of the tax rate at 18%, then CEA Dr. Arvind Subramanian and many other economists are stupid. Is that what PM is saying?" Chidambaram said in a series of tweets.
Modi, who addressed four back-to-back election rallies in Gujarat on Wednesday, targeted Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi over his remarks on the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
In a rebuttal to Gandhi's repeated criticism of the GST, a key economic reform undertaken by the NDA government, Modi said a "recently emerged economist" was propagating a "grand stupid thought" by suggesting a uniform GST rate of 18 percent.
Chidambaram responded to the criticism saying: "Has PM read the CEA's report on Revenue Neutral Rate? Did not CEA recommend an RNR of 15-15.5%? Why can't the normal GST rate be 15% and RNR plus rate on luxury goods be 18%?" he asked.
The senior Congress leader said tax and spend is the "credo" of the BJP government.
"Example: when crude oil prices fell by 50 percent, prices of petrol and diesel remained the same."
Chidambaram said 5,000MW of stressed power assets, no tender for power purchase, and no demand for power. Yet, the government claims that "all is well with the economy!"