Session not prorogued, govt. options open on GST Bill

The Government on Thursday appeared to be keeping its options open on convening a special session of Parliament for enacting the GST law on which Finance Minister Arun Jaitley declared that it was determined to stick to the rollout deadline of April 1, 2016.

“The CCPA (Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs) has decided not to prorogue the session as yet. We will make our own assessment,” he told at a press conference shortly after the Monsoon Session of Parliament ended in a virtual washout with the government failing to get the GST bill passed.

“I will not reveal the strategy but I would clearly say we are determined and it would be our endeavour to roll out GST from April 1, 2016,” he said.

Attacking the Congress for stalling the bill, Mr. Jaitley claimed that as it stands today the numbers are in favour of the GST bill.

There is speculation that the government may call a special session to get the GST bill approved by the Rajya Sabha.

Although the Monsoon Session ended on Thursday, the government has decided against proroguing it to keep the possibility open for convening a special session at short notice.

The Goods and Services Tax (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 because of opposition by the Congress and Left parties.

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.

NDA to launch campaign against Congress

Earlier, the BJP squarely blamed the Congress for the disruption of the monsoon session because it was “enslaved” to the Gandhi family and announced that it will launch a campaign against the party in all its 44 Lok Sabha constituencies for paralysing Parliament “without” a cause.

Mr. Jaitley launched a sharp attack on the Congress top brass, saying they cannot accept power and authority going outside their family and dubbed as a “new low” the sight of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi rushing to the Well of the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

On a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi set the tone for the ruling combine’s belligerence by equating the Gandhi family’s attitude with the mindset that caused Emergency, the BJP announced plans to raise public awareness against Congress’ strategy in Parliament.

“Congress has exhibited that it continues to be enslaved to a family. It is willing to compromise national interest and policy merely because the family is unable to digest its electoral defeat in 2014. There is popular disapproval of its policies of disruption without a cause,” Mr. Jaitley told a press conference.

He also ridiculed Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi over his “rent a cause” approach, saying “he cannot make a distinction between parliamentary speech and sloganeering and the more he grows old, the more he is immature“.

The minister said one Union Minister and four NDA MPs will hold public meetings and events in the constituencies of 44 Congress MPs and 9 from the Left parties, he told reporters hours after the monsoon session ended in a virtual washout.

As part of the campaign, he said awareness will be raised nation wide against both the parties with special focus on the Lok Sabha seats held by them.

He described Congress and the Left as key actors in the disruption and said the government was hopeful that the “hostility of public opinion” will force them to help in the passage of the GST bill, which could not be passed because of the disruption.

Government has indicated that it may reconvene the session, which was adjourned sine die today but not prorogued, for pushing its legislative agenda, especially the GST bill.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 12:36:59 PM |

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