Government, opposition spar over GST as a finance or money bill

New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) Strong differences emerged between the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the opposition in the Rajya Sabha here on Wednesday over the issue of Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill being presented as a finance or money bill.

While the opposition demanded that the government give an assurance of presenting the GST Bill as a finance bill and not money bill so that the Upper House gets to debate on it, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stuck to “following the Constitution.”

“Whatever are the precedents of presenting tax bills in the House by previous finance ministers will be considered. The first draft of the bill which will be prepared by empowered committee is not known to me. We do not intend to avoid a discussion. We will follow the Constitution,” Jaitley said.

Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram argued, “I want an assurance that GST Bill will be brought as a financial bill and not a money bill so that both houses can debate the Bill.”

The GST bill, technically the Constitutional (One Hundred and Twenty-Second Amendment) Bill, 2014, was however passed in the Rajya Sabha with over two-thirds majority with 203 members voting in favour. Though AIADMK walked out ahead of the voting, 203 members present voted in favour.

The Constitutional amendment bill paves the way for the introduction of a pan-India Goods and Services Tax regime.

–IANS

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