Time for political parties to come together on GST Bill: Naidu

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Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu has expressed hopes regarding the passage of the GST Bill in the upcoming Budget session.

Addressing delegates at the Nasscom annual forum, Naidu said: “I am confident that the Bill will be passed as we have spent enough and wasted enough time on this. He blamed the Congress for the delay and said the Finance Minister has spoken to them multiple times on the GST and also the real estate bill.

GST is stalled in the Rajya Sabha, where the Congress has a majority. “We have had many discussions. The time has come for us to come together. It is unfortunate that the Congress party says we have not reached out to them. It’s wrong,” he said.

Contrary to reports, Naidu said no state is opposing the implementation of the Bill. Some states had even asked for its quick implementation. “People are saying 1.2-2 per cent of the GDP growth will take place once the GST is in place,” he added.

Blaming the Congress for “raising some issues that they have not raised when they brought the Bill in 2008”, the minister said certain demands of the Opposition are not possible to meet.

The minister also said the Real Estate Regulatory Bill is likely to be passed in the Budget session. The Bill ensures mandatory disclosure of all registered projects by promoters to customers through registration of real estate projects as well as real estate agents with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority. Also, the approved Real Estate Bill has made it compulsory for builders to deposit 70 per cent of the amount raised from buyers in an escrow account in a scheduled bank within a period of 15 days to cover the construction cost of the project for timely completion of the project.

SMART CITY PLAN

The government will take up development of all the 100 smart cities that have cleared the first round of selection after the recently-finalised 20 cities are developed, Naidu, who is also the Union Minister of Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, said.

The list of 20 smart cities out of the 98 shortlisted for the ‘Smart Cities Mission’ was released on Thursday. These 20 cities, which will be the first to receive funds, are Bhubaneswar in Odisha, Pune and Solapur in Maharashtra, Jaipur and Udaipur in Rajasthan, Surat and Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Kochi in Kerala, Jabalpur, Indore and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, Visakhapatnam and Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh, Davangere and Belagavi in Karnataka, New Delhi Municipal Corporation, Coimbatore and Chennai in Tamil Nadu, Guwahati in Assam and Ludhiana in Punjab.

The minister commended the plan readied by the Pune Municipal Corporation, terming it as “very innovative and disruptive”.

At the Nasscom event, the minister marketed India as the best place to invest, terming the country as the only bright spot in the world, where other economies seem to be struggling.

“India has an enviable value proposition in terms of business opportunities… and has more than 150 billion mid-income households, which is among the biggest globally, Worldwide, economies are going down, China is going little negative. There are great opportunities in India. India has good business infrastructure, excellence in delivery, and the country has all the potential,” he added.

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