Washington : Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, who is on a week- long visit to the United States with the aim of attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for the infrastructure sector, on Monday expressed confidence that the BJP-led NDA government would be able to pass the much awaited Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill during the upcoming monsoon session of parliament.
Reports state that the NDA Government has declared that it would be their priority to ‘isolate Congress’ and push the GST bill through during the upcoming session, which is expected to a stormy one yet again.
Speaking to ANI, Gadkari said that several non-BJP states are also willing to support the GST as it would benefit them.
“In this Parliament session, we will succeed to pass the GST. This is important for both states as well as the federal government. A lot of non-BJP ruled governments also want to support it because it is going to be beneficial for them. It will increase the tax revenue of the state government. So, in this session, we will pass this bill,” he said.
The GST Bill will be taken up during the monsoon session of parliament, which commences from July 18 and will go on till August 12.
The proposed tax reform, India’s biggest revenue shake-up since independence in 1947, seeks to replace a slew of federal and state levies, transforming the nation into a Customs Union.
The Congress Party, the original author of the tax reform, has said that it would back the GST if the government agreed to cap the tax rate at 18 percent and create an independent mechanism to resolve disputes on revenue sharing between states.
Furthermore, on the achievements of his ministry since assuming, Gadkari said there has been a drastic increase in the speed of road construction since NDA took over.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given highest priority to development of infrastructure in India. As far as the road infrastructure is concerned there has been a drastic change. When I took charge of the ministry, it (speed of road construction) was 2 kilometers per day and now it is 20 kms per day. Even the operations at the ports have undergone major change,” he told ANI.
Expressing concern over the high number of road accidents and deaths resulting from it in India, Gadkari said the experience of United States in intelligent traffic management system and use of various technologies to ensure road safety can be used in India, for which his delegation would hold talks.
“Most important thing is road safety. In India, we have 500, 000 lakh accicdents and 1.5 lakh deaths every year in road accidents,” he said.
“There are a lot of technologies that they (US) are using for controlling traffic system. We can use their experience for our country. We are discussing with the US officials,” he added.
In conclusion, the minister said his current US visit will be beneficial in terms of new technologies for improving infrastructure development and, managing transport and traffic system. (ANI)