GST Bill Passed in Rajya Sabha: Here’s How the Debate Unfolded

Congress’ Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the party would be in favour of passing the bill if there were no “obstacles.”

14 min read
GST Bill Passed in Rajya Sabha: Here’s How the Debate Unfolded

The Quint DAILY

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  • The Constitutional Amendment Bill has been unanimously passed in the Rajya Sabha with 203 votes.
  • Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram demanded that the GST rate should not cross 18 percent.
  • Congress demanded that the Bill be passed as a Finance Bill.
  • The Bill will go back to the Lok Sabha for re-evaluation.
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is hopeful of implementing the GST from April 2017.
  • Jaitley announced on Tuesday that manufacturing states like Maharashtra, Gujarat will be compensated for 5 years.
  • Opposition parties argued that the GST will take away states’ flexibility.
  • Interstate tax of 1 percent also has been scrapped by Jaitley.
  • AIADMK stages a walk out from the Rajya Sabha.
7:57 AM , 04 Aug
7:57 AM , 04 Aug

The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Constitutional Amendment Bill, which the Lok Sabha had already approved last year. The exact rate of the tax will only be decided in the weeks or months ahead.

The legislation was approved by the Rajya Sabha with 203 votes in favour and none against, in the 243-member House. The bill was passed after a after a seven-hour debate.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and his predecessor P Chidambaram exchanged their views in the Rajya Sabha as the House discussed the historic Constitution Amendment Bill on GST.

Chidambaram reiterated the demand of a united opposition that the bills under the GST constitutional amendment be brought as a finance bill and not as a money bill.

Arun Jaitley, in his reply said, “In accordance with the precedence, if a bill is a taxing bill, the bill section of the parliament recommends it to be finance bill, otherwise a money bill. We have no intention to bypass the constitution.”

10:03 PM , 03 Aug

Here’s a video on how the GST Bill will be good for you.

Replying to the debate during which most parties pressed for a Constitutional cap on GST tax rate at 18 percent, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the guiding principle would be to keep the “rates as low as possible, certainly lower than what it is today”.

If we charge 24-26 percent, it will defeat the very purpose of GST. Services represent 57 per cent of India’s GDP. It will be hugely inflationary. It’ll lead to evasion. Take the case of soft drinks, whether a rich man buys it or poor man buys it, the tax is the same.
Arun Jaitley, Union Minister of Finance

Six official amendments, including scrapping of one percent additional tax for inter-state sales, moved by the government were approved with cent percent votes.

The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha earlier but it will now go back to the Lower House to incorporate the amendments approved by the Rajya Sabha. The bill will also have to be approved by 50 percent of all the state Assemblies.

AIADMK was the only party to oppose the measure and its members staged a walkout from the House maintaining that their recommendations hadn’t been considered.

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi thanked the leaders and members of all parties for the passage of the GST Bill.

Union Minister of Finance, Arun Jaitley said that 3 August was a historic day for Indian democracy and federalism.

This is a great day for Indian democracy and Indian federalism, its at its best. The Centre and the State Govts will have to work together to make this a great success. We will take this to Lok Sabha, and with the direction of the speaker we will pass it as soon as possible.
Arun Jaitley, Union Minister of Finance

Congress leaders, however, echoed their doubts regarding the Bill.

They made half a promise, if they will bring it as finance bill or money bill. I am half satisfied.
P Chidambaram
9:19 PM , 03 Aug

The Rajya Sabha votes for the GST constitutional amendment bill with a majority of 197 votes barring AIADMK.

The individual clauses are currently being voted on.

Published: 02 Aug 2016, 9:27 PM IST
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