GST Bill to be taken up on Wednesday, Congress wants more talks

New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) The government has listed the GST bill for discussion in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, hoping it will be passed through consensus, but the opposition Congress said that consultation is still on over the issue and an agreement is not yet finalised.

In view of the development, the BJP has issued whip for all its Rajya Sabha members to be present in the house for the next three days.

“The GST bill is listed for Wednesday. We hope it will be passed through consensus,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters here.

The government had initially planned to take up the Goods and Services Tax bill on Tuesday but opted to delay it by a day so that parties have enough time to talk to their members.

The “mood is in favour of passing the bill”, said Ananth Kumar, adding that talks are being held with different political parties as the bill concerns all the states.

The Congress said it was prepared to accept every reasonable solution but added that the consultation is still on.

“We are prepared to accept every reasonable solution which does not adversely affect business and industry, and does not adversely affect the federal structure and the consumer at large,” Congress spokesman P.L. Punia told reporters.

Noting that the GST is very important for the economy, industry, business and also for the consumer, he said: “We agree with that objective in mind. It is the Congress party which mooted the idea of GST, which was opposed by the BJP and especially today’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

“We had raised certain valid issues and the negotiations are still on.”

The cabinet last week approved key changes in the GST bill, including dropping the proposed one per cent additional tax on inter-state sale, a demand of the Congress.

It had also agreed to include the mechanism to compensate states for all loss of revenues for five years.

The GST bill is pending in the Rajya Sabha where the government lacks majority and the Congress is the single largest party.

The GST was first mooted by the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government.



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