GST: Day After Finance Minister’s Snub, Congress Leader Talks Of ‘Cooperation’


If the government wants to pass the GST bill the differences can be ironed out, Kamal Nath said.

DAVOS:  A day after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley dismissed one of the Congress party’s demands on the Goods and Services Tax as “preposterous”, senior Congress leader Kamal Nath told NDTV’s Vikram Chandra in an interview at Davos that the differences between the two sides “can be ironed out.”

Mr Nath, who was a union minister in both Congress-led UPA governments, however, put the onus for passing the GST bill on the government almost questioning if it really does want to pass the bill. “Well, if the government really wants to pass the GST bill, and I am saying this in capital letters: If they really want to pass the GST bill, it’s all very simple as saying, pass it,” he said.

“But you’ve got to execute it and there are challenges in executing it. There are challenges in the IT platform. So, if they really want it I think things can be ironed out,” the former commerce and industry minister said. The Congress wants the government to specify a cap on GST in the bill, a suggestion Mr Jaitley yesterday said is “preposterous.” It also wants the one per cent additional tax for producing states to go and a stronger dispute resolution mechanism.

The Constitutional amendment bill is pending before the Rajya Sabha, where the Congress has greater numbers than the BJP. Asked if his party would cooperate with the government in passing the bill, Mr Nath said, “Well, they have our cooperation. GST was our legislation and GST has done well to come to where it has come now because of us. Not because of the present government. It was our bill. And there are certain things to be ironed out which I believe are possible.”

Elaborating, Mr Nath said, “Possible because they are not very big things. And, that’s not something that we wanted as a political point, we wanted a good GST bill which everybody supports. All the associations, all the chambers and the consumers.”


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