The long-pending GST Bill has been listed for consideration and passage in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday amidst strong indications that the most far- reaching taxation reform in independent India would be supported by Congress and all other major political parties.
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, which has been in the making for over a decade, entails introduction of a single indirect tax regime across the country.
“The GST Bill is listed for consideration and passage on Wednesday in Rajya Sabha and we seek support of all political parties. The mood is in favour of its passage,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said.
According to top government sources, a fresh round of talks was held today with the main opposition Congress and other parties, including the Left and Samajwadi Party, for building a consensus on the key tax reform legislation.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley held further consultations with senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma and chalked out details of the contentious bill aimed at bringing about a consensus on the key bill, sources said.
Jaitley also met CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury, besides some other leaders. Later, along with Kumar, he met Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
Another round of talks to clarify on the language of key parts of the bill is likely to be held with Congress tomorrow.
Sources added that government was to initially bring the bill on Tuesday, but Congress was not keen on the proposal due to the roadshow of Sonia Gandhi in Varanasi tomorrow which may be attended by some party MPs.
The government, sources say, is keen to bring about four key amendments in the Constitution Amendment Bill which will include the scrapping of 1 per cent additional tax provision and grant of 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 has also been agreed to by the government.
At the AICC briefing, Congress leader P L Punia said GST is very important for the economy, industry and the business as also for the consumer.
“With that objection in mind, it was the Congress party which brought the idea of GST. We have raised certain issues and negotiations are still on. We are prepared to accept every reasonable solution which does not adversely affect the business, industry and consumer.
“There has to be one more round of talks. Party feels the bill should be passed and our best wishes that this bill be passed,” he said.