With just a few days left for the Monsoon Session of Parliament to conclude, it is hoped that the Congress sees better sense and cooperates with the government in getting the Goods and Services Tax Bill passed this session. The Congress is being cussed for the sake of it. An AICC member admitted as much when he said the BJP had opposed the bill for several years when they were in Opposition. Whilst some of the Congress’ new demands are reasonable, some are deliberately unreasonable, like 100 per cent compensation for five years to the states.
As regards keeping the revenue-neutral GST rate at 18 per cent, and not 27 per cent, perhaps both parties can agree on a rate in between. They have also demanded that alcohol, tobacco and electricity be included within the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax, something not in their original bill. Union finance minister Arun Jaitley is very optimistic of getting the Congress back as all the states have backed the bill, including the Congress states. But he will have to meet the Congress halfway. He cannot pretend his party didn’t stall Parliament and oppose the same bill, nor should he harp on the inclusion of alcohol because it is not the sole demand of the Congress.
Both sides will have to put the country’s interest first instead of trying to settle scores at the cost of the nation, the economy, and the tax-payers. Several crore rupees have already been lost due to their hardened positions. The advantages of the GST are well known and the economy needs this boost if it is to take advantage of global demands.