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Looking for common ground on GST; hope to pass it soon: Govt


New Delhi :Amid opposition from the Congress party on GST Bill, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha today expressed hope that it would be passed soon as the government is willing to consider the suggestions being made and will find “some common ground for everyone”.

“We are in continuous consultation with our colleagues in Parliament. Our hope very much is that we will be able to get GST passed. Whatever reasonable suggestions are made from our colleague in opposition, we are absolutely willing to consider it,” he said at an event here.

As far as the additional 1 per cent tax in the Goods and Services Tax regime is concerned, he said there have been many opinions voiced on the issue. It has become a key point in the debate on GST.
“We have to find a solution that is acceptable to all stakeholders… We have to find some common ground for everyone,” he said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu claimed yesterday that of the total 32 parties represented at the all-party meet, 30 were in favour of the legislation and wanted its early passage.

GST, which will subsume more than a dozen state levies to create a single market, is to be implemented from April 1, 2016. A Constitution Amendment Bill could not go through the Rajya Sabha in the last session of Parliament due to opposition from Congress.

The April 1 deadline may be missed if Parliament does not pass the Bill in the ongoing Winter Session from November 26 to December 23.

Once the Bill is passed, more than half of the states have to ratify it before Parliament passes another enabling bill to implement GST.

With regard to non-performing assets (NPAs), Sinha said it is an area that the government have been intensively analysing and very vigilant in that regard.

“NPAs are result of many factors. There is not one silver bullet that is going to deal with the NPAs that we have in the banking system. It will require us to take a multi-dimensional approach,” he said.

On the issue of reviewing some of the provisions of gold monetisation scheme so that it becomes attractive, Sinha said the government is in continuous discussion with all stakeholders and trying to find out difficulties.

“We are trying to find out ways as to how people could be motivated to use gold as financial assets,” he said.

On financial inclusion, he said the government has been able to solve an issue with the regard commission to be paid to the banks for cash out of government scheme.

“It has been concluded that there should be a fee that is paid for the cash out service. We have worked out all arrangements across the entire financial system by how people get paid when they cash out from the one of the direct benefit transfer payment,” he said.

Besides, Sinha said that universal digital KYC (know your customer) is work in progress.

“Aadhaar is going to be the mechanism for that. We have to give Aadhaar certain standing. We are working on that as well.

We have to strengthen Aadhaar from legal perspective… That’s how we can get into universal digital KYC,” he said.


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