Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today hoped the Congress will “see reason” and help in passage of GST legislation, stuck in Rajya Sabha, in the Budget session of Parliament beginning next month.
“It (GST) is the important reform of UPA. If I had to credit the authorship of it, I have to give credit to them. Now, If the author turns against his own script, what do I make… I have reached out (and) I have spoken to them. I have
explained to them and I hope they will see reason… (and) see the rationale behind passing GST,” he said.
Speaking at The Economic Times Global Business Summit, Jaitley said the three objections raised by the Congress “go against the grain (rpt) grain of what they themselves had brought”.
The minister further said every party with the exception of the Congress is actively supporting the GST Bill. “The UPA allies like the RJD, the NCP and the JD-U are openly supporting it,” Jaitley said, adding that even the
Congress-ruled states are for GST.
“I don’t see a reason why they (Congress) should have a rethink on the Bill. If there is a discussion on a particular
idea in the Bill, I am willing to discuss with them…certainly, we can’t bound future generations to a flawed legislation,” the minister said.
GST which will subsume all indirect taxes such as excise duty, service tax and sales tax into one uniform rate, is
stalled in the Rajya Sabha as the Congress is pressing for three changes.
On whether he took up the GST issue with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi at a recent reception hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee, Jaitley answered in the negative.
“These are informal occasions, and it is not necessary that you get into a discussion at these forums. I certainly
didn’t have any political discussions,” the minister said, adding that he had earlier talked about GST with Congress
leaders on several occasions.
Clarifying that economic legislation is not about BJP versus all, Jaitley said it would be “very good” if the
constitutional amendment Bill to roll out GST is passed by consensus.
“… it is very good to have laws passed by consensus. A law like this which impacts taxation structure of India being
passed by consensus is our preference, otherwise it can be put to vote,” the minister said.
Several important legislations concerning coal, mining and the like were passed by Parliament with support from several opposition parties with the exception of the Congress, Jaitley added.
The Congress has stalled the passage of the constitutional amendment Bill, derailing the government’s plan to roll out GST from April 1, 2016.
The three demands are a cap on the GST rate in the Constitution itself, removal of the proposed 1 per cent additional tax on inter-state movement of goods and setting up a judicial panel to adjudicate disputes among states.