As time runs out for the passage of the > Goods and Services Tax Bill in the ongoing winter session of Parliament, Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told The Hindu on Sunday: “We hope Parliament works from Monday so that the stalled work begins.”
Mr. Naqvi denied that any formal meeting was scheduled with the Congress to forge consensus.
The Congress top brass met to chalk out the party’s strategy in the wake of the GST Bill logjam and the >National Herald case .Hurdles to the early passage of the Bill include lack of consensus and the disruption of the proceedings in the RS by Congress members.
Informal talks on
Though Mr. Naqvi has said no formal meeting has been scheduled with the Congress to forge consensus on the GST Bill, informal talks between the government and the Opposition have been under way.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday that the Congress’s demand for doing away with the one per cent additional State levy above the GST that the present Bill permits would require consultations with manufacturing States like Tamil Nadu and Gujarat that had wanted it.
Asked whether this would not take more time than the present session would permit, as the manufacturing States might not come on board immediately, Mr. Naqvi told The Hindu : “Consultations with the States are anyway happening.”
However, it seems the consent of the manufacturing States adds one more potential sticking point.
Mr. Jaitley has already rejected the demand that the GST rate of 18 per cent be written into the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, saying tax rates could not be “cast in stone”.
The logic is that this would mean even a slight change in the rate would require another amendment. The Congress has been demanding As for redress of tax disputes among the States, Mr. Jaitley has said Congress leader P. Chidambaram’s idea of a GST council is preferable to adjudication by a Supreme Court judge.
Meanwhile, there has been no sign of the stance of the two parties softening over the weekend.