History made… Rajya Sabha paves way for GST

RSTV Bureau

JaitleyThe roll-out of all-crucial Goods and Service Tax (GST) took a firm step forward to become a reality on Wednesday as Rajya Sabha passed constitutional amendments that will enable the GST Law. It now needs to be approved by at least 15 of India’s 29 state/UT assemblies to enable its final roll-out. The Constitutional (One Hundred and Twenty Second Amendment) Bill, 2014 was pending in the Parliament for over an year despite being passed by the Lok Sabha.

The amendments to the bill were unanimously passed after a marathon debate, barring a walkout by the AIADMK. Reasoning their stand, the AIADMK said their concerns over GST were not addressed.

Earlier, main opposition Congress and most other parties — Samajwadi Party, JD(U) and Trinamool Congress — expressed their support, with certain conditions, to the introduction of GST in the country as the Upper House took up the much-delayed bill to amend the Constitution for allowing the measure.

All the amendments to the GST Bill, henceforth, were passed with complete unanimity.

The law entailing introduction of a single indirect tax regime across the country was finally seen through after the BJP-led NDA government held hectic parleys with the Opposition parties.

Last week saw Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley holding consultations with senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, P Chidambaram and Anand Sharma. Jaitley also met CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury, along with leaders of the other opposition parties.

Among the key issues which were resolved to arrive at the consensus, government agreed scrapping 1 per cent additional tax provision and granted more powers to states for providing them full compensation for a period of five years. The key Congress demand for rephrasing of the language for setting up of dispute resolution mechanism in the GST Council was also been agreed to by the government.