Rajya Sabha panel tables GST Bill, government hopeful of passage
Govt sources said that it is likely to be passed in the monsoon session. As per the present plans, govt intends to implement it from April 1, 2016.
Congress members Madhusudan Mistry, Mani Shankar Aiyar and Balchandra Mungekar gave eight dissent notes in the report that BJP MP Bhupendra Yadav tabled in the Rajya Sabha. Congress has objected to the proposed imposition of 1% additional manufacturing tax and demanded that GST rate be capped at 18% so that unfair burden is not imposed on the poor consumers.
Congress alleged the amended bill was “pitted with compromises, exclusions and exceptions that make it impossible for us to extend our support to the bill in the absence of the amendments we have proposed being incorporated in the bill...” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley criticised the Congress opposition to the GST Bill. “Congress has given dissent notes against its own proposals…. These proposals were there in their own GST bill as well,” he said, adding that the proposals of the panel were earlier accepted by the Congress in the UPA bill. He emphasised the GST bill will lead to single taxation in the country, reduce tax evasion and add 1 to 1.5% to the GDP. “If Congress opposes the bill, the country will oppose the Congress,” Jaitley said. He expressed the hope that the Congress will revise its opinion and announced that the government is going ahead with the bill in this session.
Being a Constitution amendment, the GST bill has to be passed by twothirds majority in both the Houses. While the Lok Sabha has already passed it, the ruling NDA does not have the requisite numbers in the Rajya Sabha. It was forced by the Opposition to send the bill to a select committee during the budget session. Once the Parliament clears it, the bill will also have to be approved by half of the states.
But government sources said talks were on and GST bill is likely to be passed in the monsoon session. As per the present plans, government intends to implement Goods and Services Tax from April 1, 2016. The report has recommended that states should be compensated for five years for revenue loss after its roll out. This was a major demand of many parties.