NEW DELHI: Narendra Modi’s government is preparing for a showdown with the Congress on the GST bill. The flagship bill, passed by the lower house of Parliament in May, could not be taken up till now in the upper house due to logjam in Parliament and lack of commitment from the Congress.
Government Plans To Push GST Bill In Rajya Sabha On Wednesday :
The government may make a last push to get GST bill to pass possibly on Wednesday, the penultimate day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament. The bill has been listed for consideration and passing in Tuesday’s business for Rajya Sabha.
According to some sources the government is firming up its numbers and planning to appeal once again to the Congress to support the bill. As a constitutional amendment bill, GST which seeks to create a pan-India tax regime and a common market, ending the multiplicity of central and state taxes needs the support of two-thirds of the House.
Regional parties in opposition, like the Trinamool Congress, the Samajwadi Party, JD (U) and the Biju Janata Dal, are in favour of the bill as GST is a destination tax expected to bring financial windfall to poor states who consume more and manufacture less. The Congress, the Left and the AIADMK have been against it.
In his recent meeting with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, Modi had sought her support and assured amendments to make the bill acceptable to her party, which has 10-odd lawmakers in the Upper House. A parliamentary panel had scrutinised the bill and submitted a report with few amendments. But Parliament has been repeatedly disrupted this session due to Congress protests and most opposition parties were not breaking ranks with it.
But on Monday, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav issued an ultimatum to the Congress, saying, “Enough is enough. We will not back you if you keep protesting.” The government is worried that if it is unable to pass the GST Bill in this session, it will not be able to implement it on schedule by April 2016. Given the new SP stance, it will now another attempt to get the bill passed.