Congress accuses government of inaction on GST

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New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) The Congress on Friday accused the government of inaction on the GST Bill and said its engagement with the opposition party on the issue is “half-hearted”.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh told the media here that the government seemed inclined to accept two of three demands of his party on the Goods and Services Tax Bill but had not seriously engaged the party.

“I have read Facebook posts and blogs of Finance Minister (Arun Jaitley), which is the medium he uses for expressing and communicating his views to the Congress. Out of the three demands that we have made, he seems to be inclined to support two,” Ramesh said.

The Congress demands include a constitutional cap on the GST rate at 18 percent, deletion of the provision that allows imposition of one percent additional levy and an independent dispute resolution mechanism.

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Ramesh said the government did not appear to be against the idea of a cap but was opposed to putting it in the constitution.

“Let us see. If the government is serious about the GST, it will engage the Congress seriously. So far, engagement with the Congress leadership has been half-hearted,” he said.

The Congress leader said there were “large sections within the Bharatiya Janata Party which do not want the GST and they want to make the Congress the fall guy.”

“They want to put the blame on to the Congress. Many senior BJP leaders are against the GST. So it is not clear to me what voice the BJP is speaking in but they are using the Congress as a convenient excuse to justify their own inaction,” Ramesh said.

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