NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said to opposition parties in the Lok Sabha today, “I beseech you, clear GST,” appealing for smooth passage for one of the Modi government’s biggest reforms. The government expects the Congress to walk out when the Lok Sabha votes tomorrow on GST or the Goods and Services Tax bill, sources said. In the Rajya Sabha, it expects the party to refer the bill to a select committee for further examination – a parliamentary process which is required especially in important constitutional bills.
As a debate began in the Lok Sabha today, Mr Jaitley said any more delay in passing the bill would mean setting back GST by another year as the deadline of April 2016 for a roll-out would not be met then.
“This bill has gone through the Standing Committee for two and a half years, dozens and dozens of meetings of empowered committees…Only then has a consensus happened…I beseech you rise above party considerations,” Mr Jaitley said.
M Veerappa Moily, the Congress’ first speaker in the debate, said while his party supports the GST bill, it does not support the changes made to it by the BJP government.
The Congress favours, along with the Left and some other parties, sending the GST bill to a parliamentary committee for review citing important implications on revenue collection. Today the AIADMK, which has supported the BJP government in the past on crucial issues, said it does not support the bill.
The GST bill, which seeks to amend the constitution to give effect to a unified tax regime in the country, needs the support of a two-thirds majority in each house. In the Lok Sabha, the government needs only a little help to touch absolute majority.