BJP wants all its members present when the all-crucial Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill is debated on the floor of Rajya Sabha this week. With the hopes of passage of the GST bill lightening up considerably over the last week, the ruling BJP on Monday issued a whip to its members asking them to be present in the House for the next three days.
The last week saw a big positive headway on the stuck constitutional amendment bill, described by the incumbent BJP-led NDA government as the most significant economic reform in indirect taxes since independence.
The bill is finally slated to be listed for consideration and passage in Rajya Sabha this week, after the Centre reached out to the leaders of several opposition parties, including Congress, Left, JD (U) and the SP.
Holding hectic parleys last week, Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley and Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian met with Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, deputy leader Anand Sharma and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram. Besides, he also met with senior Samajwadi party leader Ram Gopal Yadav and CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
The government is also in touch with AIADMK chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha on the key bill.
Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had held informal chat with some members of the Opposition parties on Thursday when Rajya Sabha was adjourned briefly during the Question Hour.
The bill got a sense of headway late last week on Wednesday after the Union Cabinet approved changes in the legislation. It cleared the dropping of 1 per cent manufacturing tax as well as providing guarantee to compensate states for any revenue loss in the first five years of rollout of the proposed indirect tax regime across the country.
On other contentious issue of capping the GST rate, the centre is said to have built a broad consensus with the states that the rate should not be mentioned in the Constitution and instead could figure in GST law.
Meanwhile, the BJP parliamentary party is also meeting on Tuesday where senior ministers may brief the members about the bill and other important issues on the agenda in the coming days.
(With inputs from the Agencies)