Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said that the government has the numbers to secure passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill, which is currently stuck in the Rajya Sabha.
Replying to a question on the feasibility of change of composition of Rajya Sabha and passage of GST Bill, he said: “Finance Minister (Arun Jaitley) has over the last one year clarified the government’s position on the bill and the government has the numbers.”
Jaitley had earlier stated that if the Congress does not agree to support the GST, the government may seek its passage by a vote in the parliament’s next session.
The government on Tuesday expressed the hope that parliament would continue to function effectively with growing demand from the people for the same as evident in recent social media campaigns.
Speaking to media persons on the occasion of two years of the Narendra Modi government, Naidu said: “After some avoidable disruptions of parliament and particularly, during the monsoon and winter sessions last year, both the houses have evolved a new equilibrium i.e balance.
“Opposition is raising some issues with all the might they can muster but legislative work is going on. I hope this balance will continue to stay in the days ahead.”
He said that during the last two years, number of sittings of both the houses, the bills introduced and bills passed by the Lok Sabha have increased in comparison to that of previous 10 years.
Referring to 44 bills pending in Rajya Sabha, the minister said that he would like to take up this matter with the upper house’s chairman and leaders of other parties so that there could be more synchrony in the transaction of legislative business by both the houses.
Elaborating on improvements over the last two years, Naidu said: “101 bills were introduced in both the Houses of Parliament – 96 in Lok Sabha and 5 in Rajya Sabha. Lok Sabha passed 96 bills ie 48 per year marking an improvement of three bills per year over the previous ten years. Rajya Sabah cleared 83 Bills ie over 41 per year marking a decline of four bills per year.”
Lok Sabha held a total of 149 sittings, or about 75 per year, while Rajya Sabha held 143 sittings, or 71 per year, marking an increase of four sittings per year in both cases over the previous ten years.
“From now on, any disruptions and delaying tactics will invite a price. I am sure all political parties will read the writing on the wall and enable effective functioning of both the Houses of parliament,” said Naidu.