Opposition stages a walkout in Lok Sabha over GST

Rajat Kain

File Photo ( PTI )

File Photo ( PTI )

The Government and the Opposition parties once again failed to arrive at the consensus in Lok Sabha with Opposition parties staging a walkout over the discussion on Goods and Service tax (GST). The Lok Sabha was adjourned for a brief while following a walkout by the collective opposition.

To raise their protest against holding a discussion over the GST, as proposed by the Union government, entire opposition walk out of the house.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had tabled Goods and Service Tax Ammendmend Bill in the lower house on Friday. But the Opposition led by Congress party demanded the bill be sent to Parliamentary Standing Committee as the government has brought in some changes to the bill which was first introduced in 2011. The bill subsequently lapsed and now the BJP-led NDA government has brought it again after amending some provisions.

NDA government has pitched the GST as an important component of their reforms agenda and has made their intentions clear that it wants to rollout the GST by April 2016. The government therefore wanted a discussion today and on Monday and a vote on the bill the same day so that it can get the legislation cleared from the Parliament at the earliest.

But the Opposition and particularly the Congress was of view that the bill be sent to the Standing Committee for scrutiny of the changes made in it by the new government before the house debates and votes on it. The Congress party also opposed the discussion over the legislation due to technical reasons that the financial business cannot be brought up on a Friday, which is usually kept aside for private members’ bills to be taken up.

But the government attempted hard to push the bill claiming that GST will cut down the large number of taxes imposed by the central government and states. In their bid to introduce it also tried hard to get the Congress party on board.

“The UPA must start supporting legislations that it itself introduced. You should be happy that the good work was done by your government. I am accepting that, complimenting you and taking it forward,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley after he tabled the bill.

The bill needs to be cleared by 2/3rd majority in both the houses as it amends the Constitution.

The BJP enjoys a big majority in the Lok Sabha and will not find it difficult to get their ‘key’ legislation passed in the lower house. But it lacks numbers in Rajya Sabha where they may face opposition if the consensus is not arrived at.