GST Bill To Be Tabled in RS Next Week, Yechury Raises Concerns

Arun Jaitley held a joint meeting with the opposition parties on Thursday to clear hurdles in the way of the Bill.

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Business
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The cabinet on Wednesday agreed to dropping the one percent additional tax on inter-state sales to help the GST Bill through.

The fate of the GST Bill which has been in a state of limbo for many months is now expected to be sealed by the Rajya Sabha sometime next week.

The Government listed the much-awaited GST bill for consideration and passage in Rajya Sabha’s agenda for the next week, informed Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Friday.

Earlier on Thursday, a joint meeting of the Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress, Biju Janta Dal and Left parties with the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was held to clear all major hurdles in the way of the crucial legislation, which is expected to give the economy a strong push in the coming days.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also held discussions with SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav when the Rajya Sabha was adjourned briefly during the Question Hour.

Modi remained seated in the House during the brief adjournment and spoke to Yadav and another SP member Neeraj Shekhar.

Five parties, including the Left, on Thursday asked the Centre to assure the states that their financial needs will be taken care of before the GST Bill, which take away states’ right to raise resources, is passed.

The GST Bill is only meant for imposing a tax. It does not deal with Centre-State relations. So, a resolution has to be found outside the Bill and the government has to come out with an assurance.
Sitaram Yechury, CPI(M) leader

These meetings come after Jaitley helped most of the opposition parties come around on the GST issue after accepting the major demands made by them.

Voices from within the government suggest that the government in its desperation to get the Bill passed in the ongoing monsoon Session of the Parliament has taken all possible steps.

Each and every representation from the trade and industry on implementation of the GST Bill is being discussed and deliberated upon, a senior Central Board of Excise and Customs official said.

The cabinet on Wednesday agreed to dropping the one percent additional tax on inter-state sales and guaranteeing compensation to states for revenue loss in the first five years.

In this quest, the Cabinet also decided to include in the Constitutional Amendment Bill that any dispute between states and the Centre will be adjudicated by the GST Council, which will have representation from both the Centre and states.

The amended GST Bill after being approved by the Rajya Sabha will be sent back to the Lok Sabha for approval.

(With PTI inputs.)

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