To get GST through, Modi govt may call Spl Session

RSTV Bureau

Parl-monsoon-sessionNarendra Modi government is contemplating to convene a special Parliament session to deliberate the discussion and, as it hopes to, the passage of an all-important Goods and Service Tax (GST) Bill. Earlier this month, BJP-led NDA government suffered a big set-back with Opposition staging protest on the Lalit Modi controversy and ‘Vyapam’ scam, leading to near no business in both the houses. As the session got over on 13th August, the government had kept the Parliament open to reconvening.

On Tuesday, the Central government reached out to the political parties to gauge the waters on the reconvening of the Monsoon Session.

“Government may convene second part of Monsoon Session to pass key legislations after talking to political parties,” Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu told the press on Tuesday.

“The government is going to Parliament with an open mind; amendments if any can be approved on the floor of the House,” the Union minister added when asked about a possible discussion on the GST Bill.

However, as much as the ruling BJP hopes to reconvene the house to get crucial legislations through, the Congress party remained non-committal on its support.

“They (government) want to call a special session and they are consulting all parties it seems. Unless we see what are the amended clauses or what is the agreement between the proposal of the standing committee and government, unless we see the final bill, we cannot comment on that,” Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said.

The senior Congress leader was speaking to the press after his meeting with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu. The Union minister had reached out to Mr. Kharge seeking support for the legislation on GST.

Cong-Opp-protest-Parl-2“They should also send a copy of the bill. What are the new provisions added, which provisions were deleted, what are the proposals accepted by them which were suggested by Congress or other parties, reasonable objections. That should be seen,” Kharge said.

Earlier during the session, it was Congress party that had led the protest against NDA government, even rallying around other opposition parties to join the protest. With no end to an impasse, the suspension of 25 Congress MPs by the Lok Sabha Speaker resulted in further stalemate between the government and the principal opposition party. Besides the host of issues, the government’s attempt to table the GST Bill too was opposed by the Congress party.

The Congress party has now once again asserted that the GST bill has to be passed by both the houses of Parliament “separately” and not by calling just a joint session.

“The GST bill should be passed in both the houses separately. It cannot be called a joint session or so. I do not think they will call session. For that also 14 days notice is required,” Mr Kharge added.

It was the Congress party itself, which had initiated the GST Bill in 2006 when it led the UPA government for good ten years. However, the principal opposition, as it stands now, is strongly opposed to the GST Bill in the present form and is insisting on three key amendments.

(With inputs from the PTI)