‘Cong will back GST bill if 3-4 issues addressed’

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While Jaitley said that the govt will talk to anybody in opposition to pass GST, Sonia said that her party will back the bill if 3-4 issues are addressed.

NEW DELHI: Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said the government had an open mind on discussing Congress’s concerns on the goods and services tax (GST) bill, although he stressed that India could not have a flawed reform measure for the sake of political compromise. The day also saw Sonia Gandhi, in her brief comments to media, explaining that Congress was willing to support the bill’s passage if three to four important issues were addressed.

“Congress is firm on these issues,” she said, referring to the tax rate, composition of GST Council and abolition of 1% levy by manufacturing states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Jaitley’s remarks coincided with signs that the government will not make the GST rate a sticking point.

Jaitley’s comments came on the opening day of the winter session which witnessed hectic negotiations between the ruling coalition and the opposition over the GST bill. The NDA government has identified implementation of GST as a key priority and the PM has said he is hopeful of rolling out the reform by April 2016. Implementation of the most ambitious indirect tax reform since independence is expected to add to revenues, make the tax system transparent and boost overall economic growth.

“The three objections which have been raised… if there is validity in any one of them, I am willing with an open mind and willing to discuss with the Congress party and also with other parties,” Jaitley told the TV channel.

“We will certainly discuss it with them and try and find a best possible solution but I have one bottom line and that bottom line is that in the process of a political compromise, India cannot have a GST with a flawed architecture,” he said.

Source: The Times of India

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