GST cannot be a reality without the support of the Congress: Jairam Ramesh

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He said Congress has not been consulted by the govt, which is standing on “false prestige”

Deflating the claims being made by the government of getting the constitutional amendment bill for the passed by isolating the Congress, spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member said in unambiguous terms today, “The GST cannot be a reality without the support of the Congress,” he said. The BJP-led government has of late been proposing the Special Session route to get this bill, a crucial instrument in the government’s economic reform agenda, passed. The Congress has categorically stated that they “have not been consulted” and advised the government not to stand on “false prestige”.

This being a constitutional bill, it needs two -thirds majority in each house of Parliament and cannot be passed through a joint sitting of both houses.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had on Tuesday questioned how the Rajya Sabha, an indirectly elected house (where the Congress is in majority) could obstruct decisions taken by the Lok Sabha (where has the numbers). Hitting out at Jaitley, Jairam Ramesh today said, “The FM has no moral authority when it was Narendra Modi who single handedly derailed the GST for three years ( as Gujarat chief minister) Mr Jaitley is no one to pontificate on GST.”

Hastening to clarify that the “Congress is the architect of the GST and the GST is in national interest”, Ramesh said “the NDA version of the bill cannot be passed in this form.”

“The Congress is not isolated,” said the former Union minister, Jairam Ramesh. “The AIADMK, is fundamentally opposed to GST, the DMK, the CPI, CPM ( Left parties) are all opposed to it. Even the JD(U) is not clear in its stand. We are not isolated,” he said to bolster his argument that the government did not enjoy the two -thirds majority needed to get the bill passed.

Opposition Congress has repeatedly gone on record to state that the issues that have been raised by them have to be addressed and taken on board. Former Finance minister P Chidambaram had stated that Congress wanted removal of one per cent additional tax, a dispute redressal authority and cap on the GST rate at 18 per cent. In addition Ramesh said, the party had highlighted in its dissent note submitted alongwith the GST Select committee report that municipal bodies and panchayats also needed to be compensated for the revenue losses they incur after the implementation of the GST.

Alleging that the concerns raised by the Congress were in “consumer interest”, Ramesh refuted the charge being made by the government that Congress was stalling economic reform. “GST would have been a reality in 2012 itself, if BJP had not opposed and in particular Narendra Modi. The GST in the words of GST expert Satya Poddar should be a good and simple tax, Mr. Jaitley’s GST is neither good, nor simple,” said Ramesh.

Source: Business Standard

 

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