Nirmala Sitharaman: Very optimistic on passage of GST

Chennai, Aug 14 (PTI) Government today said it is ‘very optimistic’ of getting the much stalled reform bills like GST passed in Parliament despite strident disruptions by the Congress seen in the just ended Monsoon Session.

The government would seek to work with other parties in this regard, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters here.

“I am very optimistic,” she said when asked about the pending bills in Parliament and how optimistic the government was about their passage.

On whether the government would be able to meet the April 1, 2016 deadline for implementing the Goods and Services Tax regime, she said “yes, ideally we will stick to the deadline”.

She added: “Let us see. Obviously I cannot lay the entire blueprint in front of you now, we wish to work together with everybody to have that passed.”

The minister was speaking on the sidelines of a party initiative to reach out to people to explain to them about what happened during the recently concluded Monsoon Session of Parliament.

The session was washed out with no important legislations or discussions taking place due to disruptions by Congress led opposition.

They sought resignations of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasandhara Raje in the ‘Lalitgate’ controversy.

They also demanded that Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan step down over the Vyapam scam.

Besides, Congress has been opposing GST, contending that some proposals in it have to be amended.

The GST bill, that seeks to replace all indirect taxes with a uniform levy, has already been approved by the Lok Sabha but could not be taken up in the Upper House.

Indirect tax reform GST proposes to create an uniform tax rate across the country by subsuming excise, service tax and other local levies. GST is estimated to boost India’s GDP by 1-2 per cent.

Sitharaman said the opposition to GST was “essentially” from the Congress and Left parties.



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