Passage of GST, other bills: Govt. reaches out to Opposition


Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu addressing the media at the Parliament House on Tuesday. MoS Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is at right.

Talks on for convening “second part of Monsoon Session”.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said he was in talks with the opposition on convening the “second part of the Monsoon Session” in order to clear important bills including the Goods and Services Tax bill (GST).

Sources in the government indicated that there is a window in the second week of September for calling the Session. “We are keen that we clear the GST, the real estate bill and the negotiable instruments bill in this Session,” said a senior minister in the government. Mr. Naidu said he was willing to speak to “everyone, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi” to strike a consensus.

“The GST has gone through several layers of scrutiny and there is no reason other than obduracy on behalf of the opposition, that the bill should not be cleared,” he said. The Bill has not only gone through an empowered group of State finance ministers but also a departmental standing committee of Parliament and a select committee.

“The Monsoon Session has not been prorogued, therefore if we convene Parliament in this period, it will be called the second part of the monsoon session,” he said.

Mr. Naidu pointed out that the government had called at least 5 all-party meetings in order to get the House to run. “Over the next few days we shall be talking to other parties,” he said. He had met the leader of the Congress legislative party leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjuna Kharge this morning, after which he met Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kharge said his party was still in the dark about whether or not to support the two amendments proposed by the Congress. “We cannot support the GST Bill till we know that our amendments have been included in the Bill,” he said to The Hindu.

Congress has asked for the deletion of a 1 per cent surcharge as additional levy, an independent dispute redressal mechanism and a cap on the GST tax rate at 18 per cent. Mr. Kharge says the party has not been taken into confidence by the government on this.

Here are ten things you need to know about the GST Bill:

1 Officially, the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Second Amendment) Bill 2014.

2 It was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 19, 2014 by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

3 The Bill seeks to amend the Constitution to introduce a goods and services tax (GST) which will subsumes various Central indirect taxes, including the Central Excise Duty, Countervailing Duty, Service Tax, etc. It also subsumes State value added tax (VAT), octroi and entry tax, luxury tax, etc.

4 The Bill inserts a new Article in the Constitution make legislation on the taxation of goods and services a concurrent power of the Centre and the States.

5 The Bill seeks to shift the restriction on States for taxing the sale or purchase of goods to the supply of goods or services.

6 The Bill seeks to establish a GST Council tasked with optimising tax collection for goods and services by the State and Centre. The Council will consist of the Union Finance Minister (as Chairman), the Union Minister of State in charge of revenue or Finance, and the Minister in charge of Finance or Taxation or any other, nominated by each State government.

7 The GST Council will be the body that decides which taxes levied by the Centre, States and local bodies will go into the GST; which goods and services will be subjected to GST; and the basis and the rates at which GST will be applied.

8 Under the Bill, alcoholic liquor for human consumption is exempted from GST. Also, it will be up to the GST Council to decide when GST would be levied on various categories of fuel, including crude oil and petrol.

9 The Centre will levy an additional one per cent tax on the supply of goods in the course of inter-State trade, which will go to the States for two years or till when the GST Council decides.

10 Parliament can decide on compensating States for up to a five-year period if States incur losses by implementation of GST.




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