Jaitley urges saving parliament’s powers, RS passes Finance Bill

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New Delhi, May 11 (IANS) Making an impassioned plea to safeguard parliament’s powers, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday asked the Congress party to reconsider its opposition to the Goods and Services Tax Bill and withdraw its insistence on handing over dispute resolution under GST to the Supreme Court.

“If India has to grow, please reconsider your position on having a provision (GST Bill) that would surrender legislative jurisdiction to the courts,” Jaitley said replying to the discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the Finance and Appropriations Bills.

The Finance Bill and Appropriation Bill were later approved by the upper house by voice vote.

“Step by step, brick by brick the edifice of India’s legislature is being destroyed,” Jaitley said, referring to the Congress proposal to appoint a judge to settle disputes between the Centre and states on GST.

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“This is a political issue … you can’t hand over this power to the judiciary,” he added.

On the Congress demand for a constitutional cap of 18 percent on GST, Jaitley said though he had no problem with the rate proposed there could not be a constitutional limit placed in case adverse situations arose in future.

“There cannot be a uniform tax for all commodities. There are ‘aam aadmi’ (common man) commodities that could attract 5-6 percent tax.. that the GST Council will decide. But why should luxury products like a BMW car be taxed only 18 percent,” he asked.

In this connection, he said that the new fiscal had begun on a hopeful note with India’s indirect tax collections for April rising 42 percent to over Rs.64,000 crore

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