GST in national interest, PM tells all-party meet

New Delhi, Nov 25 (IANS) A day ahead of the begining of the winter session of parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday pitched for the goods and services tax bill, saying it is “in national interest”.

He asked Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to talk to all political parties to build a consensus on the issue, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said on Wednesday after the meeting.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the all-party meeting today (Wednesday) that the GST legislation is in the interest of the nation,” Naidu said.

“The prime minister also said that the finance minister will speak to all parties to address their doubts on the legislation,” he added.

The legislation is seen as a facilitator of industrial growth and improved business climate in the country.

The Constitution (122nd amendment) Bill, 2014, or the GST bill as it is commonly referred to, is seen as a major step towards tax reforms in the country.

Since it is a constitutional amendment legislation, it needs two-thirds majority to be passed in both houses of parliament and also by legislatures of half of the states to become a national law. It is currently pending in the Rajya Sabha where the government is in minority.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said on Wednesday that his party wanted a cap on the taxation in the bill.

“There are a couple of things in the GST bill we want changed. We want a cap on the amount of tax that can be charged,” Gandhi said in Bengaluru.

The Congress is also opposed to the proposal to levy one percent additional tax on the supply of goods in the course of inter-state trade.

By subsuming most indirect taxes levied by the central and state governments such as excise duty, service tax, value added tax and sales tax, the Goods and Services Tax proposes to facilitate a common market across the country, leading to economies of scale and reducing inflation through an efficient supply chain.

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