Lok Sabha passes GST bills

A view of the Lok Sabha in New Delhi on Thursday.

A view of the Lok Sabha in New Delhi on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

It was a landmark day in Parliament as four GST Bills were passed in the Lok Sabha. The four bills - Central GST, Integrated GST, Union Territories GST and GST Compensation bills - were passed after votes and debates in both the Houses. 

Touted as the biggest taxation reform since Independence, GST will subsume central excise, service tax, VAT and other local levies to create an uniform market. GST is expected to boost GDP growth by about 2 per cent and check tax evasion

 

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Here are the live updates: 

8.50 p.m.: All four GST Bills passed. Lok Sabha adjourned till 11 am tomorrow.

8.40 p.m.: One of the GST Bills, Central Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017, passed.

8.00 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Arun Jaitley: "The Central govt does not decide the rates. The Centre will only notify the rates."

7.45 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Arun Jaitley: "Without multiple rates, it'll become a regressive tax. There are many goods on which we can't levy a tax. Can't impose 15% on food. It was a unanimous decision. For one commodity there'll be only onerate in the country. "

7.30 p.m.: Who gave the Council the power to create laws under Article 265, questions Veerappa Moily. 

Jaitley answers: "The GST council has been given the power to make a recommendation to the model law. The Constitution amendment gave that power to the Council.   The Council got the power under Art279A to make recommendations to law. Art 246A gives Centre-State power to frame the laws."

7.20 p.m.: Arun Jaitley speaks at Lok Sabha

"We have created India's first federal decision-making authority.  Article 246 says that there will be a goods and services that will be imposed by the Central and State governments. The rates will be decided by the Council." 

"The Contitution clearly divided the powers of the Centre and the states. In the division of power there was no grey area. GST actually creates the grey area. There will be a tax jointly implemented by the Centre and states. An expert committee has been appointed to look into how the bottlenecks can be removed and there can be a free flow of goods and services."

"Even though in 1947 we became a political entity, India remained many economic entities. This Bill once it becomes an Act will have a significant impact on the taxation system in India. There is no freeflow of goods and services in the country. Object of GST is can we have one tax, every assessee has one interface with one assessing officer. It should become a more efficient tax, with higher compliance. The other advantage is, when goods and services flow from one part of the country to the other, there is no input credit. So there is a tax on a tax. GST seeks to rectify this."  

7.10 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Om Birla, BJP:  "Due to demonetisation people have the belief that the government is committed to removing black money from the economy."

7..00 p.m.: Rajya Sabha adjourned for the day. Railway Appropriation Bills will continue tomorrow.

6.45 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Geetha Kothapalli from Arakku: "Industries must be informed in advance so that they can be prepared for the impact of GST. GST Council must address Andhra Pradesh's concerns."

6.30 p.m.: Rajya Sabha 

Rajaram (BSP):"Trains are not running on time, There are many railway accidents." 

T.K. Rangarajan CPI (M): "Railway budget for 2017-18 was allotted only Rs. 1000 crores for proposed safety measures. Increasing number of accidents cannot be stopped. The productivity of the rail coach factory in Chennai is growing. We do not need foreign help to manufacture modern trains."

6.20 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

D.Bandyopadhyay (TMC):"Centre has pushed certain rail projects under a model that will not work for cash strapped states like NE states"

6.10 p.m.: Lok Sabha agrees to extend sitting upto passing of the GST Bill.

6.00 p.m.:  Lok Sabha

NK Premachandran, Kerala: "By virtue of the GST legislation, if state governments want to raise the rate of tax, it has to approach the GST Council. Therefore, the fiscal autonomy of the states has been abrogated. The legislative supremacy of Parliament is being taken away by the GST Council."

5.40 p.m.: Saugata Roy, West Bengal: "States are not empowered under GST. With GST and FRBM, the states' ability to pursue divergent paths has been curtailed. Centre seems to be in a hurry. In this hurry, you have not fixed the rates. There are about 4,000 items.  There will be a problem of fitment. If a tax rate is of 15%, then will it be in the 12% bracket or 18% bracket?Industry is totally unprepared for GST because they do not know the rates."

5.32 p.m.: Narendra  Budania (INC) talks about Delhi-Jodhpur train frequency being reduced after broad gauge conversion. "Must have a daily train," he says.

5.30 p.m. Aadhaar discussion will be taken up in Rajya Sabha tomorow. The Railway Appropriation Bills are being discussed now. 

5.25 p.m. Speaker moves Motion that the Bill with amendments be returned. Motion accepted. 

5.10 p.m.: Voting via Division on another amendment

SitaramYechury moves amendment on Election funding. Division voting in place. Adopted with 80 votes Aye.

4. 55 p.m.: Rajya Sabha votes on Finance Bill.  Since Digvijaya Singh has asked for a Division (voting by electronic method) in Amendment 8, the House will now be vote via by the electronic method.   With 80 voting 'Aye' after the Division, amendment no. 8 is adopted and passed. 

4.40 p.m.: Uproar in Rajya Sabha over loan waiver to Tamil Nadu farmers.  Tiruchi Siva of the DMK brings up the scheme for irrigation facilities for farmers.

4.15 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

Jaitley: "I share the concern and that is why there is a norm in the act that privacy is crucial. We have reduced the first IT slab. We have tried to encourage housing sector in certain areas of industry." 

Jaitley replies to Chidambaram: "The Pentagon got hacked even without Aadhaar. Don't compare it to Mr. Dhoni's case."

P. Chidambaram: "Aadaar was an instrument to avail service and subsidies. It was never intended to be attached to the IT accounts and bank accounts. I can accept tht for now . How will you protect the privacy of the IT returns? The Pentagon has been hacked. What is the guarantee that you have the technology to protect bank account details via Aadhaar?"

Jaitley replies to Sibal's comments on Aadhaar: "As far as legislation is concerned it is clear in Sec. 7. As far as benefits, if you have Aadhaar you can give that. If not can give any other form of identity proof. Fortunately the scheme has been a success.  In your tax assessment either give your Aadhaar, or give proof of your application for Aadhaar card. This will reduce tax fraud and multiple PAN cards."

Arun Jatiley: "Charitable organisations suddenly turn into companies, charity corpus then misused. There are many Tribunals that are not useful for the purpose they were created. What is wrong if the govt says let us have one river water tribunal which will act on a continual basis. Bodies are lying vacant because alternative modes of earning are far more attractive."

"The appointment of judges will be made in consultation with the judiciary and Chief Justice," asserts Mr. Jaitley in reply to Mr. Sibal's question. 

Arun Jaitley: "In the Finance Bill, as regards political funding, historically we have seen where we have made several changes in the past and those changes have only produced limited results.  In the Budget, we have said that political funding from four different sources are allowed.  While we have been encouraging donors to give donations by cheque, it has not been successful. Therefore Electoral Bonds have been introduced and clean money can be maintained. In the ands of the donor, recipient there will be clean money. There would be transparency."

Mr. Jaitley requests political parties and Opposition to look at the new scheme positively.

"Why were political funding changes incorporated in the Finance Bill?" asks Anand Sharma.

Jaitley says, "There have been 2 precedents of the same case in the past. As a national party, the Congress and others, should be one with us to cleanse the system of political funding. "

4.00 p.m. : Rajya Sabha

Arun Jaitley explains Section 132 as 'protection to whistleblowers'. P.Chidambaram intervenes, "Sources can be protected, but please give a reason."  To which, Mr. Jaitley replies," If court asks us to provide reason we will do so."

Poonam Mahajan Rao, Maharashtra: "The whole world wants to move towards digital. We are getting over all the artificial barriers and compliance issues."

Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav, Bihar: "Will inflation come down after GST? No, it will not. There is not a single measure here that will reduce inflation.If crude oil prices are going down, then why is the price of petrol going up? Is this the kind of benefit to come in from GST?"

3.55 p.m.: Arun Jaitley begins reply to Finance Bill debate at Rajya Sabha

"Many statements made today were highly exaggerated. Kapil Sibal said we are tax compliant. 1.95cr declare less than Rs.5 lakh; 76 lakh declare above Rs. 5 lakh but 2 crore go on international travel. They are assuming property, election happens only in cheques. Wrong hypothesis, that's why no steps in 10 years. "

3.50 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

Kanimozhi, DMK: "Farmers of TN have been requesting for a loan waiver from the FM. TN is facing a drought situation. This is the worst drought in decades. Many farmers have committed suicide. The Centre has to intervene in the Cauvery issue and resolve it once for all."

Navneethakrishnan (AIADMK), "If no money, no place in this world, then no place in heaven"

3.45 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Supriya Sule, Maharashtra: "The government data shows mining growth rate is down by 11%, and several other sectors are also down. With GST, data proves there have been hiccups to growth whereever it has been implemented. How will it help our GDP? And what will be the repercussions on FDI?The powers are not with the State, Parliament and Centre but to the Council. It is nice we are empowering States. These are long-term legislations. Am not objecting the power given to the Council. But we have to re-think the amount of power given.  Has the government thought through giving so much power to the GST Council?" 

"With the kind of data that will be generated by the GST, what sort of precautionary measures are you taking that this data will not be leaked? What is the government's Plan B in cases of drought etc.?  There will be a huge cost to our country if any GST data is leaked.  Compliance to GST will be an issue. Unemployment is a serious issue."

3.25 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Varaprasad Velagapalli: "I want to ask the government if there are any plans to bring alcohol and petroleum products into the ambit of GST. Why the additional cess on aerated drinks? With GST, the entire tax base is likely to go to the government. July 1 seems to be very difficult to achieve as I don't think trade and industry will be ready. The GSTN has been given Rs 3000 crore and 51% of this will be held by private companies. Need to look into whether security clearance has been given for this."

Mulayam Singh Yadav: "Until the farmer is not successful, India will not be successful. You can bring in as many Acts as you want, but this will be true. The poor, unemployed and labourers, are suffering due to debt and hunger. Will there be any laws that for them?"

3.15 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

Jairam Ramesh, INC: "This Finance Bill is a bitter pill. The FM has gone for the kill with this Bill. What the FM did in the original Bill was to introduce a pseudo inheritance tax.  Sec. 132 of the Bill is tax terrorism to the power of 10. Mr. Jaitley had said his govt. would not bring about any change retrospectively that would create more liabilities.

On Amendments to the Companies Act, Mr. Jaitley said: "The Companies Act has been changed to make for donations from corporates. The FM drew reference to the Manmohan Singh Committee on Party Finances. The National Green Tribunal Act has been emasculated by the Finance Bill. Tis is not a Finance Bill. This is an exercise to reduce the Parliament to irrelevance. "

3.00 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

Chunibhai Kanjibhai Gohel (BJP), "When UIDAI card is used, only person's name shows, not all details. Crime will be eliminated with Aadhaar"

Vivek Gupta: "West Bengal is going to be deprived of Rs. 4000 cr every year. Request FM to remove all cess and surcharge so that states can benefit."

2.30 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Anandrao Adsul Vithoba of the Shiv Sena speaks now.

2 p.m.: Lok Sabha

"We have stood firm in our support for small business," says Kalyan Banerjee, Trinamool Congress' Serampore MP. "The common man must benefit from this legislation. Unless industry is informed about the rates with sufficient time given, it won't be possible for them to modify their ERPs. So it is essential that the rate fitment activities are completed as soon as possible." Pralhad Joshi is in the Chair.

Bhartruhari Mahtab of the BJD speaks next. "Four Bills in one go — the CGST Bill, the IGST Bill, the UTGST Bill and the Compensation Bill — all these have been approved by the GST Council. People are saying GST will be a game-changer. But we believe that it will be illusory to expect too much out of GST. It will be known only after the first year if the rates set are revenue neutral. he benefit to the consumer is also very illusory."

He asks why the anti-profiteering clause is necessary when a competition law already exists. "While the rate of coal royalties has not been revised for several years, the centre has levied a clean environment cess which does not go to states. So coal bearing states like Odisha are harmed. The GST Council has decided that the entire clean environment cess will go towards compensation towards the States. And that is our concern."

"The power given to State-level tax authorities is not under the audit of the CAG and the PAC and so is constitutionally impermissible," says Mr. Mahtab.

2 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

House reconvenes. The House begins discussion on The Finance Bill, 2017. Harivansh of the JD(U) begins speaking.

Tapan Sen of the CPI(M) says the Finance Bill has caused a serious political distortion in the democratic structure.

K.T.S. Tulsi raises three concerns — making  Aadhaar mandatory, removing the cap on corporate funding and "rubbishing several Tribunals."

1.30 p.m.: Lok Sabha

"The delay in passing these laws is not on our account," says Mr. Raj. He says that this is not an assault on federalism as the States have already agreed to the laws.

K.H. Muniyappa is in Chair.

T.G. Venkatesh Babu of the AIADMK speaks next. "Ten groups have been set up under senior tax officials to examine the concerns of the industry and submit reports by April 1." Mr. Babu represents Chennai North.

"A July 1 roll-out will leave the Central Excise and Customs department three months to sort out all differences. There needs to be a robust IT backbone so the GST network can perform all the functions in its mandate. Tamil Nadu is concerned about the impact on the States' fiscal autonomy due to GST and the permanent hit to revenue. We are happy some of the concerns of ours have been addressed but others have not."

"It is clear that a manufacturing state like Tamil Nadu will lose revenue due to GST. Tamil Nadu has been at the forefront in protecting the rights of the States and protecting its autonomy."

Kalyan Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress says, "West Bengal fought long and hard for cooperative federalism. Our State wanted an integrated tax regime."

1 p.m.: Lok Sabha

Mr. Moily continues his speech on the GST Bills. "Officials implementing it will suffer. There is no ad-hoc provision to make payment and give credit."

"One nation, one tax has remained a myth," he says. "It is not clear how the categorisation of the 90:10 divide for companies with turnover below Rs. 1.5 crore will be done. Categorisation of goods also needs to be done. For example, is Kitkat a chocolate or a biscuit? Is coconut oil considered as hair oil or cooking oil?"

Udit Raj of the BJP speaks next. "The need for GST was that different states had different tax rates. To move to a system where there is uniformity of tax rates, these laws have been introduced. These laws are also to remove the cascading effect. If you go to any State border, there is a line of trucks because there is not free movement." Mr. Raj is an MP representing the North-West Delhi constituency. He adds that GST will reward the honest taxpayer.

1 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

House is adjourned till 2 p.m. The House will take up the Finance Bill once it reconvenes.

12.30 p.m.: Lok Sabha

"The Compensation law is for compensating the states for any loss they might incur for the first five years of GST," says Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, introducing four GST Bills.

He recommends the laws for consideration by the House.

Veerappa Moily of the Congress speaks next. "The changes we are about to implement are unprecedented and historic. It was intended by the UPA government and should have been implemented then, but some Opposition parties at the time thought it should not have been done. Imagine the loss to the country, to the people, due to a political gamble."

"It amounts to a loss of about Rs. 12 lakh crore," says Mr. Moily. "There are several working groups constituted to look into the workings of several key sectors, but there are many crucial sectors for which groups have not been formed. There is no clarity with regard to issues such as excise free zones, SEZs etc."

"You have brought in an anti-profiteering clause, but there is no word on how this can be implemented. It is far too vague and draconian and could prevent companies from making efficiency gains. The CEA himself has made impassioned pleas to bring real estate into GST. You have just ignored it." On inter-State movement of goods, Mr. Moily says it will increase red tape.

"As far as the tax rates are concerned, the government must resist from placing too many goods in the 18% bracket," says the Chikballapur MP. "There are too many rates, a total of seven. This will defeat the objective of GST. What you have brought today is not a game-changer, or great reform, but a baby step forward." Regarding cesses, he says, they don't know their fate, or that of surcharges.

"This will be a technological nightmare."

12.30 p.m.: Rajya Sabha

Minister Hansraj Ahir answers a question on cases lodged by the Delhi Police. Jaya Bachchan of the SP asks what action is being taken on harassment of women by the police themselves.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh says that of cases of heinous crimes lodged, 76% have been solved by the Delhi Police. "More than 25% of non-heinous crimes have been solved."

Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma answers a question on creating employment opportunities for local people through tourism.

Prabhakar Kore of the BJP asks a question on the promotion of electric vehicles. MoS Heavy Industries Babul Supriyo responds that the National Mission on Electric Mobility has a specific target of electric and hybrid vehicles by 2020. Three to five million BEV two-wheelers, 1.3-4 million hybrid four-wheelers is the goal, he says.

"Europe has a target date of 2030 to convert all vehicles to electric," says Mr. Kore.

12 noon: Lok Sabha

Papers are laid on the table. Speaker disallows all adjournment notices.

Statements by Ministers are laid on the table.

Zero Hour begins.

K.C. Venugopal raises the issue of Lokpal appointment. "How can the Attorney General blame the Parliament?"

Arun Jaitley says that it is with the Standing Committee and once the report comes in, the Parliament will take it up.

Suresh Kodikunnil of the Congress speaks about vacancies in SC, ST and OBC Commissions.

Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot says the Commissions have already been constituted.

Arun Jaitley rises to move the following motion: "That this House do suspend the proviso to rule 66 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha in its application to the motions for taking into consideration and passing of the Central Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017, the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017, the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Bill, 2017 and the Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017 in as much as these are dependent on each other."

The motion is passed.

Mr. Jaitley moves that the The Central Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017, The Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017, The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Bill, 2017, and The Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017 be taken into consideration.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with BJP MP Anurag Thakur at Parliament House in New Delhi.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with BJP MP Anurag Thakur at Parliament House in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

 

"These are four very important laws, and they are being taken together because the subject matter is the same. The system of indirect taxes in the country had given the Centre the power to levy some taxes and the States some taxes. So there was a decision to unify all these. With such a unification, goods will be able to move across the country. It would be easier for assessees, and the revenue would be divided between the Centre and States," says the Minister.

"Till now, the system has a Central list, a State list, and a Concurrent list. We are now creating by law, a jurisdication simultaneously of the Centre and the States. And are handing over the tax collection to the first federal body in India."

"The GST Council has sent its recommendations regarding five laws, four of which will be before the Parliament, and the fifth will go to the legislative assemblies of all the States. The CGST and SGST laws are virtually duplicates. The IGST law deals with imports and inter-State and inter-Union Territory movement of goods and services. The UTGST law is for those Union Territories without legislature."

12 noon: Rajya Sabha

Question Hour begins. Chairman Hamid Ansari is in the Chair.

Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram answers a question on the implementation of Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana.

The next question is on abandoned Pakistani boats found in Sir Creek Area.

The next question is on missing children in cities. The issue of Najeeb's disappearance is brought up. Minister Hansraj Ahir says that the question pertains to children.

11.30 a.m.: Lok Sabha

"We are working to bring in a change so that somebody who has graduated from the ITIs will be given an equivalence to class 10,"says Mr. Rudy.

Sunil Baliram Gaikwad of the BJP asks, "There are many complaints about availability of even clean drinking water in trains and stations. Will the government look into providing RO water at the stations?"

"We have taken several steps to improve the food and drink situation at stations and trains. Even the food preparation is becoming increasingly mechanised, less human touch, and distribution will be by world class companies," says Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. "We have started providing water vending machines at all stations. That work is going on. We have started a scheme where people can get the local cuisines of their homes in the trains."

M.K. Raghavan of the Congress asks, "The food inspectors of the Railways are seldom seen, and the quality of food is mostly poor. So what measures will be taken to provide quality food, and what inspections will be taken at the food vending sites?"

Mr. Prabhu says, "If the quality of food as prepared is not ensured, then there cannot be the assured delivery of quality food. We have taken steps to improve this, and distribution will be done by the best in the hospitality industry."

Tapas Mandal of the Trinamool Congress says, "Yesterday, in the Rajdhani, when people ate the food, a number of them started vomiting. The Railway official, when a complaint was lodged, said that this was not unusual but was normal. How long can this continue?" Minister says the Railways has issued a notice of immediate termination to the deliverer. "In the case of individuals, we are correcting the entire catering policy."

Answering a question on the closure of fast-track courts, Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad says, "With the devolution of taxes to the states under the 14th Finance Commission, we have asked the states to open the required the number of fast track courts that they need."

"Crimes against senior citizens have been increasing. Is government planning to establish fast track courts to expedite the action in such cases?" asks Mausam Noor of the Congress. Mr. Prasad says the Centre is trying to sensitise state governments on the issue.

A large number of cases are pending even in fast track courts, says M.B. Rajesh of the CPI. "In view of this, will the government reconsider the decision to reconsider central funding for fast track courts?"

Mr. Prasad responds that once the 14th finance commission came, all the states wanted greater fiscal flexibility. "Rs. 25 lakh crore will go to the states by 2020. We have tried to sensitise the Chief Ministers to the need for more fast track courts."

Ninong Ering of the Congress asks when the tenders for optical fibres will be completed for the North East. Minister Manoj Sinha says, "The work has started and will be completed soon. The Bharat Net scheme will also be extended to the North East."

Meenakshi Lekhi of the BJP asks a question call drops in urban areas. "What are the steps being taken to get private companies to improve their performance?" Mr. Sinha says that call drops are a problem. "The TRAI report has shown that call drops have reduced, but that there is a need for improvement. But we are working on this continuously."

Question Hour comes to a close.

11.30 a.m.: Rajya Sabha

Nirmala Sitharaman responds that it is a sensitive matter. "Finance Minister, Agriculture Minister have met the farmers."

She says the government is seized of the matter, referring to the Cauvery Management Board.

On Neduvasal, she says the Minister has assured that the team will go and talk to the people and take their consent before any action is taken.

Pramod Tiwari wants Awadhi declared as a protected language. Vandana Chavan of the NCP raises the issue of the increase in use of synthetic drugs by the youth.

K.K. Ragesh of the CPI(M) speaks about privatisation of PSUs by the Centre. T. Subbarami Reddy of the Congress raises the issue of counterfeit notes, especially those of new currency notes. "How is it that perfect fake notes are being made by people? This was one of the issues that the PM said led to demonetisation. The government should take all steps to contain it."

11 a.m.: Lok Sabha

House reconvenes. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan is in the Chair.

Question Hour begins. The first question is on tricolour pictures on products. Janak Ram of the BJP raises the issue of Amazon "misusing" the tricolour. MoS External Affairs M.J. Akbar says that Amazon has apologised, but there is no international law on the matter.

"Our missions took immediate action when Amazon misused our emblem. There are no international laws on this. But there is the will of the Indian people and the government. A direct consequence of our active intervention is a written apology by Amazon. Any laws of the Indian government on the use or misuse of our emblems can only apply to Indians living in India or abroad. If there is any misuse, then action will be taken. And Amazon has now taken steps to implement software so emblems are not misused."

Congress MP Rajeev Shankarrao Sattav asks if the government agrees that it has failed to meet its commitment of providing employment and shelter to 20 crore people.

"The Mahatma Gandhi Kaushal Vikas Yojana is a grant scheme. We have said that those going through the scheme, at least 70% have to be at least given an apprenticeships. Or if they want to be self-employed, then even that is considered employment. The Minister has pointed out the results of only one scheme. Not all the government schemes," says MoS Rajiv Pratap Rudy. "There are many schemes in which large numbers of people are getting employment."

Dhananjay Mahadik of the NCP asks, "If industry is to be boosted, then skill development and skilled people are needed. By when  can we expect a boost to short term skill development?" Minister says there is a shortage of funds. "But we are increasing the size of the skilling efforts slowly. And that will continue."

Y.V. Subba Reddy of the YSR Congress asks, "There is a need to include more sectors like IT, ITeS in the present skill developoment efforts. When will this happen?"

Minister responds: "It is the capacity of the training partner that determines how many people can be skilled. It is also true that the catchment area of a particular training centre may dry up. So we need boarding facilities, and we are working towards this."

11 a.m.: Rajya Sabha

House reconvenes. Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien is in the Chair.

Papers are laid on the table.

Bhupendra Yadav of the BJP raises a point of order on the suspension of House's functions, saying rule 267 needs to be amended. Chair says it is only a suggestion, not a point of order.

What is rule 267?

"Any member, may, with the consent of the Chairman, move that any rule may be suspended in its application to a motion related to the business listed before the Council of that day and if the motion is carried, the rule in question shall be suspended for the time being:

Provided further that this rule shall not apply where specific provision already exists for suspension of a rule under a particular chapter of the Rules."

Ram Gopal Yadav asks to discuss vacancies in SC/ST and Minorities Commissions. Chair says the 267 notice is rejected and the Member can give another notice.

Digvijaya Singh asks about his substantive motion on government formation in Goa and Manipur. Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi says the government's stand on commissions has already been spoken about. "We are ready to answer every question on this."

Chair agrees to a short duration discussion tomorrow on the matter. Mayawati says a short duration discussion alone will not help.

Sharad Pawar of the NCP raises the issue of agricultural credit and the impact of demonetisation on cooperative banks. Anand Sharma says the Finance Minister should respond to the issue Mr. Pawar has raised. Chair says the matter can be raised then and the Minister can respond.

Tiruchi Siva of the DMK speaks about farmers agitating in Jantar Mantar. "Farmers want their loans waived. The State government has requested for an assistance of Rs. 40,000 crore from NDRF. But the Centre has sanctioned only Rs. 1,800 crore. We request the constitution of the Cauvery Management Board and inter-linking of rivers."

D. Raja of the CPI brings up agricultural crisis in the country. "The plight of Tamil Nadu farmers is miserable. They have been agitating for two weeks. They have met the PM, the President, the Finance Minister and several MPs. Government needs to take a decision on loan waiver to farmers." He also speaks about the Neduvasal hydrocarbon project and says the government should assure farmers that the project will not be implemented.

T.K. Rangarajan of the CPI(M) says the Home Ministry and the police have been threatening the agitating farmers and asking them to leave. "Centre should help Tamil Nadu. There must arrangements on a war footing by the Centre." Sitaram Yechury says he met the farmers. "Please ask this government to waive loans for farmers."

10.45 a.m.: Listed business for the day

Rajya Sabha

- Bills for consideration and return
  > The Finance Bill, 2017
  > The Appropriation (Railways) Bill, 2017
  > The Appropriation (Railways) No. 2 Bill, 2017

- Bill for consideration and passing
  > The Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill, 2017

- Discussions
  > Discussion on the working of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions
  > Discussion on the working of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
  > Discussion on the working of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
  > Short duration discussion on Aadhaar — its implementation and implications

Lok Sabha

- Bills for consideration and passing
  > The Central Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017
  > The Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017
  > The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Bill, 2017
  > The Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017
  > The Collection of Statistics (Amendment) Bill, 2017
  > The Repealing and Amending Bill, 2017

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(With inputs from Sharad Raghavan)

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