Dealing GST bill just with Congress is not enough: CPI(M) chief Sitaram Yechury to Centre

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Yechury reaffirmed his party’s position that the GST bill would deprive states their “right to raise resources” through sales tax and surcharge or cess and asked government to address the issue.

The government should reach out to all parties over the GST bill issue and seemingly thinking that dealing only with Congress is “sufficient” is not a correct method in parliamentary democracy, the CPI(M) on Monday said.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said his party is “completely out of loop” over the developments relating to the proposed legislation and “does not know” what the government is planning to bring as GST bill and asked it to call an all-party meeting to build consensus in this regard.

“Why are you not calling the meeting for building consensus (in GST’s case)? Now this government seems to think that dealing with Congress is sufficient. But that I don’t think is a correct method in our Parliamentary democracy,” he told reporters at Indian Women Press Corps.

He said the government is “pre-occupied” with Congress over GST keeping in mind the numbers in Rajya Sabha, thinking if the NDA and the UPA major reach agreement in the Upper House, “anything can be passed”.

Referring to the July 28 meeting convened by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitleywith leaders of five Opposition parties in Rajya Sabha, including Yechury, the CPI(M) leader said the former said that the government is “coming to an understanding with Congress”.

“What it (the understanding) is we don’t know. We requested the Finance Minister to give us a copy of resolution adopted on GST by state Finance Ministers, so that we will know what the position is. But that has not happened so far.

“So, what is happening on that course is only they can answer or the Congress maybe. But we are completely out of the loop,” Yechury claimed.

He reaffirmed his party’s position that the GST bill would deprive states their “right to raise resources” through sales tax and surcharge or cess and asked government to address the issue.

Or else, he said, the states “will have to come with a begging bowl to the Centre, placing them at the Centre’s mercy” every time there is fund requirement or disasters.

On Congress’ demand that the government should cap the GST rates to less than 18 per cent and that the same be mentioned in Constitutional amendment, Yechury said, “I don’t think we should get this cap business in the Constitution.”

He reasoned that every time there is a situation calling for waiver, then it will require bringing Constitutional amendment.

“The Constitution should not deal with such issues,” he said.

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/dealing-gst-bill-just-with-congress-is-not-enough-cpim-cheif-sitaram-yechury-2948257/

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