GST Bill soon to be referred to select panel

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Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari at Parliament House on Monday.

Move may delay the implementation of new taxation regime

The government’s attempt to bring the Goods and Services Tax Bill in the Rajya Sabha during the ongoing Budget session seems to have failed. The Centre is likely to accept the Opposition’s demand to refer it to a select committee.

While the Land Bill will be considered by a joint select committee of the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, the GST Bill is likely to go to a select committee of the Rajya Sabha.

Meanwhile, the acquittal of AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa in the disproportionate assets case is expected to give elbow room for the government in pacifying the party on issues such as GST and Land Bills.

Delay imminent

If referred to a select committee then the Bill is unlikely to be taken before the monsoon session scheduled in August. This in turn would mean delay in implementation of the new tax regime. The government is targeting April 1, 2016 to implement GST. The Opposition had stepped up its pressure on the government as the Rajya Sabha did not function for the second day over the Comptroller Auditor General’s report naming Cabinet Minister Nitin Gadkari.

The Upper House is unlikely to take up any business on the coming days too. The government had reached out to the Opposition leaders on Monday for a possible compromise on the Bills. A senior leader in the Opposition camp told BusinessLine that, “They have finally agreed for a select panel on GST and a joint select panel on Land Bill.”

The AIADMK, however, maintains that its approach to the government will be issue-based.

“We supported the government in the Insurance Bill. We are opposing the GST Bill as it is against the interests of Tamil Nadu,” said an AIADMK MP.

Meanwhile, the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha were disrupted on Monday too over the CAG report naming Gadkari.

The Opposition said an inquiry should be ordered against the Minister and he should be asked to resign.

Amid the ruckus, Gadkari read out a statement and said the CAG report has not said anything against him.

He said he is ready for any type of probe into the issue.

“My respectful submission before this august House is that let us follow the established procedure in the matter of CAG reports and if any wrong-doing is established by the PAC, which will be discussing the CAG report in due course of time, the law should take its own course,” he added.

Source : The Hindu business line

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