Centre had plan B if Congress wanted Rajya Sabha say in GST rate

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NEW DELHI: The government was determined not to concede to Congress’s demand for designing the two GST bills+ , slated for the winter session of Parliament, not as money bills so that Rajya Sabha got a say in determining the tax rate. During the debate on the Constitution (122nd Amendment) bill, 2014 on Wednesday, Congress, led by former finance minister P Chidambaram, demanded an assurance from the government that it would bring the India GST and Central GST bills as financial bills and not as money bills.

A money bill only needs to be cleared by Lok Sabha+ by a simple majority and the upper House does not get to vote on it. During the BJP government’s tenure, Rajya Sabha, where the party lacks majority, has blocked several legislative proposals, including the Constitution amendment for rolling out the good and services tax.

On Wednesday, the government’s resolve+ stemmed from its ability to enlist the support of regional parties. “We have the support of 150 MPs and they would have ensured that the requirement of two-thirds majority was easily met,” said a senior government functionary involved in chalking out the parliamentary strategy.

Sources said the government had quietly worked to shore up its numbers. Finance minister Arun Jaitley had visited Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati and was in regular touch with Nitish Kumar who broke ranks with Congress to declare his support to the bill without capping the GST rate at 18%. Jaitley had also called on Jayalalitha twice in Chennai, while I&B minister Venkaiah Naidu had visited her Poes Garden residence.

Though the AIADMK walked out, government sources claimed they were confident that Jayalalitha would not have let the Constitution amendment bill fall through if it had come to that situation. The finance minister had also reached out to Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik and even attended a lunch hosted by Telangana CM Chandrasekhar Rao. He had the support of Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu, but also remained in touch with the TDP’s rival, YSR Congress.

Government’s parliamentary managers on Thursday were verifying whether all members on the treasury benches had cast their votes for all the nine amendments.

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Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Centre-had-plan-B-if-Congress-wanted-Rajya-Sabha-say-in-GST-rate/articleshow/53549115.cms

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