PM Narendra Modi’s GST Barb To Retiring Rajya Sabha Members

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the retiring members of Rajya Sabha on Friday.

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s send-off speech for 53 lawmakers of the Rajya Sabha who are retiring soon, delivered a gentle barb on the upper house’s inability to pass a bill to effect his government’s key reform, the Goods and Services Tax.

Conveying his best wishes to the retiring members and thanking them for their contribution to important policy decisions, the Prime Minister said, “I wish the GST would have been passed during your tenure in the Rajya Sabha. People in your states would have benefited from it.”

The Prime Minister added that he hoped that those who would return for fresh terms to the Rajya Sabha would help pass the bill, which gives effect to a unified tax regime in the country.

“Wherever you go, whatever you do, please keep sending your ideas and work for the betterment of your state. I would like to thank you on behalf of the government for your valued contribution, and wish you the best for the future,” the Prime Minister said.

16 of the 53 members who will retire before the next Parliament session in July, belong to the main opposition party the Congress, which has also been the chief architect in stalling the Modi government’s GST plans in the Rajya Sabha, where it is in a minority.

The GST bill was passed last year by the Lok Sabha, where the government has a big majority, but the Congress led the opposition to block the bill in the upper house, sending it back for review to a parliamentary committee.

With multiple attempts by the government to build consensus on the bill failing, the key reform missed a crucial deadline this year – it was to have been implemented  by April 1.

The GST bill was one of the top agendas of the government in the Budget session too, but it could not bring it as clashes with the opposition over issues like the Agusta Westland chopper scam. The GST bill seeks to amend the constitution and so needs the approval of two-thirds of each house.

Today is the last day of the Budget session in the Rajya Sabha and the retiring members are making farewell speeches.

 Source: http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/pm-modis-gst-barb-to-retiring-rajya-sabha-members-1405817

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