Today's Paper

‘New GST Bill elements need scrutiny’

Ahead of the Rajya Sabha vote next week on the Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill to introduce goods and service tax nationwide, the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said the draft legislation should be referred to a Select Committee since there were several new components which have not been put through legislative scrutiny.

“We are not opposed to GST. But the new elements in the Bill need to be looked at. So, it should be sent to the Select Committee,”’ Dr. Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a function. His Rajya Sabha colleague Anand Sharma was more emphatic; stating that the government cannot bulldoze the Opposition in this manner. The Congress is not alone. The Left parties and the AIADMK are also pressing for it at a time when there is widespread discomfort with the manner in which the government has been repeatedly refusing to refer Bills to standing committees.

So far, only eight of the 51 Bills introduced by the Modi government have been referred to standing committees. While the government’s plea is that many of these Bills were UPA leftovers, the Opposition contention is that the changes need to be scrutinised in detail. Also, the Opposition points out, that even a completely new piece of legislation like the Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill, 2015, was not referred to a standing committee.

Anand Sharma says government cannot bulldoze Opposition, especially in

the matter of a constitutional amendment