Awaiting government response on GST, says Congress

New Delhi, July 17 (IANS) The Congress on Sunday said it is still awaiting a “concrete response” from the Centre on its concerns over the Goods and Services Tax bill, and added the proposed legislation was not discussed at Sunday’s all-party meeting.

Terming the GST issue a “Congress child”, the main opposition party also accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of stalling the proposed law for four to five years.

“We are still awaiting a concrete response. The Congress gave birth to the GST bill. It has been held up in parliament by the BJP for 4-5 years. We believe the GST is in the country’s interest, it cannot be a flawed GST,” Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia told the media after the meeting called by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar.

“The GST issue was not discussed in this meeting… with regard to the three issues raised by us, the government is still to revert to us with its response. There have been intermittent discussions but it is not the solution,” Scindia said.

The Congress has objected to the proposed levy of one per cent additional tax on inter-state sales, wants states to not have the power to levy additional tax over 18 per cent, and has also raised the issue of a dispute resolution mechanism.

The Parliamentary Affairs minister, meanwhile, said that the government will talk to all opposition parties on the GST bill, and that during the all-party meet all parties agreed to cooperate in the normal functioning of both the houses of parliament during the ensuing monsoon session.

“We are talking to all parties and will talk in future as well on the GST and other bills. We want to create a consensus,” Ananth Kumar said.

“In today’s (Sunday) meeting, the government told various political leaders that we want to run the house and need their support in this regard. All parties, including the Congress, said they will support us in running the house and support the bills on merit. We will create a consensus,” he said.

Earlier, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said the Congress will not “obstruct” the passage of any bill, adding it will support any bill that is in the country’s interest.

Azad, however, did not clarify his party’s stand on the GST bill, which tops the government’s priority list for the monsoon session beginning on Monday.

“The Congress will support any bill which will be in the interest of the nation, people and growth. We will let the bills pass on the basis of merit; we do not obstruct passage of bills,” he said.

–IANS

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