Govt agrees, Lok Sabha to take up GST after finance Bill

The government on Monday acceded to the Congress-led opposition’s demand in Parliament to defer a discussion on the goods and services tax (GST) constitutional amendment bill till after the passage of the finance bill in the Lok Sabha.

The Congress and some other parties had protested and staged a walkout when the government moved the GST constitutional amendment bill on Friday. They had argued that the Lok Sabha traditionally took up the other legislative agenda only after discussion on the demands for grants of various ministries and the finance bill.

The constitutional amendment was originally listed in Monday’s Lok Sabha agenda.

A senior minister said the opposition’s reservations were on procedural issues, not on the bill’s content. Also, that many MPs, including from the ruling coalition, wanted to speak during the discussion on grants, leaving little time for the GST Bill. A minister said the Lok Sabha would now take up for discussion and passage the bills on unaccounted money, land acquisition and GST from May 5 to 8. The two Houses will have a long weekend on account of May Day on May 1, followed by the weekend and then Buddha Purnima on May 4.

Parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu asked the opposition on Monday to not link the suicide of farmer Gajendra Singh at an Aam Aadmi Party rally in Delhi last week with the land acquisition issue, and not to politicise the issue. For, his kin have said he wasn’t in financial distress, and the matter is under investigation.

“More than 200,000 farmers committed suicide in the last decade. At that time, who was running the country? So, don’t try to politicise every issue and do not try to divert the attention of the people,” said Naidu.

He noted in this context that about 81,000 hectares had been acquired for Special Economic Zones and other non-agri activity by Congress-led governments in their decade-long tenure till 2014.

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