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GST deadlock: Govt. reaches out to Opposition

arun-jaitley

New Delhi: As the deadlock over passage of the Good and Services Tax (GST) Bill continues, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu met former prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi here on Thursday and discussed the concerns raised by the opposition on this issue.

Talking to the media after the meeting held at the Congress president’s official 10. Janpath residence here, Naidu said: “We discussed about the GST Bill and I reminded Sonia ji to take the stand over the same.”

“The party (Congress) has raised three issues, which have been addressed by the Finance Minister. She has agreed to discuss the matter amongst the party and then proceed,” Naidu added.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had earlier said the government is hopeful of the passage of the GST Bill in the Budget Session of Parliament, when the numbers in the Rajya Sabha will swing in its favor.

“The next session is going to be extremely important. And half way through the next session, the numbers of the Upper House are also going to change. So, I am reasonably optimistic, as far as the next session is concerned, that we may be able to push it through,” said Jaitley while addressing the officer trainees of the Indian Revenue Service on Sunday.

“The next session is going to be extremely important. And halfway through the next session, the numbers of the upper house are also going to change. So I am reasonably optimistic, as far as the next session is concerned, that we may be able to push it through,” Jaitley added.

Former finance minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram had last week alleged that the ‘stubborn’ government was not ready to accommodate the views of the opposition on the GST Bill.

Stating that the government at the Centre has failed to deliver its promises on all counts, he added that they are still not able to find a way to accommodate the views of the opposition and pass the GST Bill.

Chidambaram added that the GDP growth is not likely to be higher than seven to 7.3 percent in 2015-16, which means that it will be the same as or lower than in the last fiscal year.

The government, he said, does not seem confident of meeting the fiscal deficit target of 3.9 percent for the current financial year. For 2016-17, Chidambaram said the government seems to be toying with the idea of departing from the path of fiscal consolidation, already delayed by a year.

Parliament’s Budget session, which is scheduled to start in last week of February, will likely see the Constitution Bill for GST in the Rajya Sabha turn favorable.

The GST regime, touted as the most important indirect tax reform since Independence, aims to integrate central excise, service tax and state value-added tax.

The Constitution Amendment Bill hit a roadblock in the Rajya Sabha, where the government does not have a majority. The Lok Sabha had passed the Constitution amendment on GST in May.

After passage from the Rajya Sabha, it needs to be ratified by 50 per cent of states. The proposed tax regime aims to integrate central excise, service tax and state value added tax.

After passing the Constitution amendment, three other legislations, the central law, the state law and integrated GST will have to be passed, before the new tax regime can be rolled out. (ANI)

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