GST finally listed for discussion in Rajya Sabha
The long-pending Goods and Service Tax (GST) Bill has been finally listed by the Government for consideration. Minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, while making a statement regarding government business for the week starting August 1 in the Upper House, said the Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014 will be taken up for consideration and passage.
On July 27, the Cabinet had cleared changes in the legislation, dropping the controversial one per cent manufacturing tax and providing guarantee to compensate states for any revenue loss in the first five years of rollout of the ambitious indirect tax regime.
The government is keen to get the GST Bill approved during the Monsoon Session of Parliament ending on August 12. The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in May 2015 and vetted by the Rajya Sabha Select Committee.
However, the measure got stuck in the Upper House where the government does not have majority of its own, as the main opposition Congress sought certain changes in it. Government is making efforts to hammer out a consensus on the bill and reaching out to opposition parties. Congress has described the exercise as “constructive and positive.”
Once the Rajya Sabha clears the legislation, the amended legislation would be returned to the Lok Sabha for its approval. The GST legislation, which intends to convert 29 states into a single market through a new indirect tax regime, was earlier planned to be introduced from April 1 this year, but the deadline was missed as the legislation to roll it out remained in limbo in the Opposition-dominated Rajya Sabha.
Later on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met senior cabinet colleagues to finalise the government strategy on GST passage. Rajya Sabha is also expected to take up the crucial enemy property and benami transaction bills next week.