Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday lashed out at a delegate at a meeting with businessmen, entrepreneurs, CAs and others in Pune.
In a video shared by the news agency ANI, Nirmala Sitharaman is chiding a delegate for "being harsh on GST".
The man, representing the Cost Accountant Association from Pune, was addressing Nirmala Sitharaman over public concerns with regards to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) when the finance minister stopped him mid-sentence "to correct him".
"We know with GST you want to [increase] ease of doing business, decrease complexity of the law, reduce corruption, litigation and smooth administration; and of course the government is interested in increasing the revenue," the speaker said, adding that sometimes the suggestions give (by the industry) are not taken as such.
The delegate said he had five suggestions to give on the "real problem makers" in the GST. He also claimed that the finance minister was not likely to take the suggestions in the "right perspective" because the officers did not.
It is when he said that the government was being cursed by every stakeholder that Nirmala Sitharaman interrupted him.
Arrogance or decisiveness?
Nirmala Sitharaman's conduct at the meeting immediately came under opposition scanner as Karnataka Congress leader Srivatsa YB slammed her for being " arrogant & condescending".
"Even after more than two years, you haven't been able to fix GST. Collections of GST are at an19 month low! And you reply arrogantly to businessmen who are facing issues daily. Ma'am, it's high time you take a break and join anger management classes (sic)," the Congress leader said in a series of tweets.
Hitting back at the Congress, newly-elected Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya said that it was firmness and decisiveness of the finance minister and not arrogance.
"I have met Smt @nsitharaman on multiple occasions & even argued when I haven't been in agreement with her position. She has always been extremely polite, listened intently & explained her PoV. Let's learn to respectfully disagree," the BJP MP said in a tweet.
Here Are What People Are Saying:
Nirmala Sitharaman clarifies
To clarify her stand, Nirmala Sitharaman's office tweeted: "Few important things to note here: 1) Smt @nsitharaman asks the man to meet her with his delegation and put forward his suggestions regarding improving the GST framework. She also promises to do all she can to hear everyone's views.
"2) The man asking the question himself says later that it was the perception regarding GST among some people which was causing issues and not GST per se."
Her official handle also claimed that the agency has not shared the full video where the minister is seen hearing all his suggestions.