Coimbatore: Claiming a “broad consensus” on the long pending GST Bill, Union Minister M Venkiah Naidu on Sunday said the Centre was “very serious” about its passage in the monsoon session of parliament, but virtually rejected Congress’ demand for a tax rate cap terming it “not feasible and advisable”.
The Union Urban Development Minister said the government was pursuing the matter with “all parties concerned” and he expected it to be passed in the monsoon session of Parliament beginning tomorrow.
“The entire country is watching what is going to happen in Parliament tomorrow. Broad consensus has emerged. Still there are points being addressed by the Finance Minister (Arun Jaitley). GST is the need of the hour,” he said at a ‘Meet the Minister’ programme organised by the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce here.
Last week, Naidu, a former Parliamentary Affairs Minister, spoke to Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad in a bid to drum up Opposition support for the crucial legislation.
If the common taxation code was implemented “harassment will be reduced, middlemen exploitation will be reduced and corruption will get reduced,” he said, adding it will help in increasing revenue and job opportunities.
“That is why the government is very serious (about the Bill) and we are pursuing with all the parties concerned…I am sure in the coming session of the Parliament itself the GST bill will be passed. That is my expectation,” Naidu said.
While the GST Bill has been passed in the BJP-dominated Lok Sabha, the government has faced roadblocks in the upper house where it lacks the numbers to get it cleared.
Earlier, speaking to reporters in Coimbatore, Naidu exuded confidence that the bill would be passed in the monsoon session but said Congress’ demand for cap on tax rate in the Constitution bill was “not feasible and advisable.”
“There is a broad consensus, with a few reservations, even as Tamil Nadu being a manufacturing State has opposed the bill. Congress wants a cap on tax rate in the constitution bill, but it is not feasible and advisable…And the GST bill is pending for the last eight years,” he said.
The government wanted to pass the bill with consensus and “not scrape through” by its majority, he said.
Recalling that the bill was in place when Pranab Mukherjee was the Finance Minister and P Chidambaram had made some changes to it, Naidu said it took shape after a committee comprising Finance Ministers of five states went through it in detail.
The new generation wants the bill to passed as they want empowerment, Naidu, who was in Coimbatore to participate in the 4th Edition of India International Coir Fair, said.