The government is set to push for the much talked about Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill in the coming week of the Winter Session of the Parliament. Key legislations like the GST and the Real Estate bills have been listed for consideration and passage in the coming week, while proposing heavy business in both the Houses of Parliament.
According to reports, the government will attempt to pass 6 bills in the Lok Sabha and 7 bills in the Rajya Sabha next week. Of these, two bills are already listed in the Lower House and three are listed in the Upper House.
But obviously the core focus and challenge will be to pass the GST bill in the Upper House. The Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of Rajya Sabha has allotted a time of four hours for the GST Bill and two hours for the Real Estate Bill.
On multiple occasions the government has claimed that the GST bill, which is also known as The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014, will be passed soon and the GST legislation will roll out from April 2016.
On Friday, the Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian made few recommendations on GST and submitted his panel report to the government. In the report, the panel suggested 17-18 per cent GST rate and it also recommended dropping of the 1 per cent additional tax on inter-state sales.
Congress is seeking a cap on the GST rate at 18 percent and a deletion of the provision of 1 per cent additional tax . They also want an independent mechanism to resolve disputes and disagreements between the state and the Centre and within the states. These were the three sticking points over the passage of GST, which has led to a political logjam.
The CEA panel, in its recommendations, also opposed the inclusion of GST rate in the Constitution, which the Congress has been demanding.
As long as these differences remain, it will be an uphill task for the strategy managers of the Modi government to bring both the Congress and Left parties on board for a smooth passage of GST bill in the Upper House.
Apart from the GST, the government also plans to take up Real Estate Bill, Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 and the Whistle Blower Protection (Amendment) Bill 2015 in the Rajya Sabha. A discussion on the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 had already begun on Friday. The deteriorating India-Nepal relations and price rise could also be discussed when the Upper House resumes on Monday.
(With inputs from PTI)