GST bill passed in Lok Sabha but Congress walks out

RSTV Bureau
File Photo ( PTI )

File Photo ( PTI )

The long-pending GST bill was passed in Lok Sabha, even as Congress party staged walkout seeking the legislation be sent to Parliamentary Standing Committee as the ruling party has amended the original draft. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moved the bill before the lower house.

Lauding the GST, he said “the whole process of indirect taxation in India will change once the GST is implemented. This is a very important moment”. He further added that the GST would ensure seamless and uniform indirect tax regime besides lowering inflation and promoting growth in the long run.

On the contentions raised by the Congress party, the Finance Minister told “the proposal to reform the indirect taxes has been pending for the last 12 years and his predecessor P Chidambaram had also mooted it during UPA rule”.

But the opposition moved several amendments which were either negated to rejected. Finally the Constitution Amendment Bill, originally mooted by the Congress-led UPA government, was passed by 352 votes against 37 after the government rejected the opposition demand of referring it to Standing Committee.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not present in the House at the time of voting.

Rejecting the Opposition demand for referring the Bill to the Standing Committee, Jaitley said the panel has already examined various provisions of the new legislation and several of its suggestions have been incorporated.

“A bill is not a dancing instrument that it will be jumping from Standing Committee to Standing Committee,” he said.

Moving the bill yesterday, the FM had said the “Standing Committee has already deliberated upon the measure for two-and-a-half years and barring a few points, there was a broad consensus in the empowered committee of state Finance Ministers on the provisions of the Bill”.

Before the discussion and voting on the legislation, the government also emphasised that “a sort of consensus has emerged between the Centre and the states through the empowered committee of Finance Ministers in the state governments”.