If demonetisation is considered the biggest blunder of the BJP-led NDA government by the business community in Punjab, finally the “smooth run” of goods and services tax (GST) seems to have provided much-needed relief. No wonder, there seems to be a pro-Modi sentiment in urban and industrial pockets of Punjab. Since these two policies have had a direct bearing on the lives of people, it is a major poll issue here.
The rich and powerful have moved on and hail the GST, having initially borne the brunt of demonetisation in 2016-17. Here, it is only the trade which ran “out of the books” that is unhappy with the implementation of GST, especially those involved in real estate business.
Take the case of Prince, who runs a grocery store on Dhandran Road in Ludhiana. Till January 2017, he and his brother ran a dyeing unit in Ludhiana. Hit by demonetisation, their small labour intensive and running largely on cash unit, was shut within three months. “We had no option but to sell the assets and start afresh. I now run this store, and with the implementation of GST, I am at ease in running my business. It is for this reason that you will find a strong Modi wave here,” he says.