Government may call Congress for a truce meeting over GST


The Union government may invite the Congress for a meeting over the Goods and Services Tax Bill, which is fast running out of shelf life for this Parliament session as Rajya Sabha remains stalled due to continued protests by the opposition.
Government sources told HT the meeting may take place early this week.
Leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said the party is yet to receive any formal communication.
The Congress met on Sunday evening to discuss its Parliament strategy. It will meet again on Monday morning to take stock of the situation.
The government’s plan to call the Congress — which holds majority in the Upper House — for a meeting comes after the principal Opposition party’s charge that the Centre had not responded to three of its key demands on the long-pending bill.
In Assam, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had on Saturday said, “We have three structural differences with the BJP on the GST. If these differences are resolved, the Congress Party is for GST.”
The Congress wanted the Centre to scrap the additional 1% “entry tax” which is seen by the Opposition party as an effort to protect the interest of BJP-ruled Gujarat and Maharashtra. It also pitched for a cap of 18% on the GST tax rate to be the part of the main bill and an independent grievance redressal mechanism.
Disruptions had marred the last week in Parliament as the Congress upped its ante on the government’s “vindictive attitude”.
It also raked up the old demand of resignation of three BJP chief ministers on Friday.
The Congress is also likely to raise in Parliament the issue of reported “insult” to Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy by not inviting him to an event to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“It is pettiness of the worst kind. It is an insult of the Constitutional position of a chief minister. PM should respond… and should even refuse to go himself (to the function) as the deceased former chief minister of Kerala and also the current one have been insulted by this petty act,” Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.


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