NEW DELHI: Minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha said that the government is hopeful that the goods and services tax (GST) amendment bill will get passed soon.
This comes amidst reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for tea at his residence to break the logjam on this crucial reform.
GST seeks to replace a host indirect taxes levied by the centre and states on goods with a single levy cor create a pan-India market and is expected to help lift the country’s gross domestic product ( GDP) by 1-2%.
Sinha reiterated that government is in consultation with the opposition. “We very much hopeful that it we will get passed. Whatever reasonable suggestion are made by our colleagues in opposition, we are absolutely willing to consider it,” he said.
Earlier this week, finance minister Arun Jaitley had said that he was in discussion with every leader of the Congress party to get the GST bill cleared in this Parliament session.
The government wants to roll out the GST from April 1, 2016, but was unable to pass the constitutional amendment bill in the Rajya Sabha in the washout monsoon session.
The key demands of the opposition include, capping of the GST rate at 18% in the constitution amendment bill and to scrap of the 1% tax proposed for inter-state sales to benefit manufacturing states like Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
Sinha, however, said that there are many opinions on 1% additional tax.
“The particular provision was widely important to build consensus with states. So states have different opinion. Of course we have to arrive at a solution which is acceptable to all,” he said, adding that the government has taken collaborative problem solving approach while doing consultation with states and will work with same approach in Parliament.
Earlier this week ET had reported that a key panel on GST headed by Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian is likely to recommend a revenue-neutral rate of about 18%.
On Thursday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu had said that 30 of the 32 political parties represented in Parliament were prepared to back the GST Bill and the public mood was “almost one-sided in favour of the GST Bill.”
On this issue of rising bad loans or non-performing assets (NPAs), Sinha said it is an area that the government have been intensively analysing.
“NPAs are result of many factors. There is not one silver bullet that is going to deal with the NPAs that we have in the banking system. It will require us to take a multi-dimensional approach,” he said.
Sinha said that government is trying to find out ways as to how people could be motivated to use gold as financial assets and a review is on of some provisions of the gold monetisation scheme to make it more attractive.