Centre’s special session plan for GST faces hurdle


The Congress, which initiated the GST Bill in 2006, is opposed to it in its present form.

he Centre’s effort to convene a special session of Parliament in September to pass the pro-reform GST Bill may hit another hurdle. Sources said some regional parties have informed the government that even though they support the bill in principle, but they agree for the special session only after other Opposition parties, including the Congress, give its consent for it.

Meanwhile, the BJP has deployed senior ministers like Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu andMukhtar Abbas Naqvi to have talks with all political parties and convince them to agree for the special session and get the requisite two-thirds majority in Rajya Sabha, where the NDA is in a minority. However, sources claimed that it has become quite difficult to convince Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on this issue.

A party insider claimed that regional parties, including Samajwadi Party and Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress have said the government should take all the Opposition parties, on board.

The government has planned a three-day special session. Senior ministers are now reaching out to all the parties to muster the required strength in the Rajya Sabha. The Union ministers have also reached out to some senior Congress leaders for the special session.

The Congress, which initiated the GST Bill in 2006, is strongly opposed to it in its present form and is insisting on some key amendments, including capping the tax at 18 per cent and removing the one per cent additional tax.

Upper House at present has a strength of 244, the consent of 163 members is required for the bill to pass. The Congress, with 68 members, is opposing the bill while parties like the SP, TMC and JD (U) have supported the bill in principle, it is opposed by the AIADMK, which has 11 members and has expressed its dissent against the GST Bill as it feels the Tamil Nadu will suffer due to the uniform tax system as it is a manufacturing state. However, party leaders believe that the situation improve after PM Narendra Modi’s meeting with AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa at her residence.

Last week, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that the government was determined to rollout the bill by April 1, 2016. He had also said that regional parties are in favour of the bill. “As it stands today the numbers are in favour of the GST bill,” he had said



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