Keen on GST bill, government may convene Special Session


ArunJaitley New Delhi: Amid indications that the government may convene a special session of  parliament — mainly to secure passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill,  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said the government was determined to  try and roll out the GST system from April next year.

“The aim of the opposition was to delay the GST. The government will not disclose its  strategy but it will try to implement GST by the set deadline,” Jaitley said at a press  conference here.

Jaitley didn’t rule out the possibility of convening a special session of parliament to secure the passage of GST Bill.

“We have not taken any decision as yet to prorogue the session,” the finance minister said when asked whether the government was planning to convene a Special Session of parliament.

Jaitley said: “The GST has received consistent support from most mainstream parties. The then Congress government made the announcement in 2006 and introduced the bill in 2011. Today, it seeks to go back on the GST issue. The objections in the Congress’s dissent note are contradictory and trivial.”

He said numbers in the Rajya Sabha too were in favour of the GST.

“Parliamentary numbers are loaded against the Congress. It, therefore, relies on disturbance and lung power to prevent its consideration by the Rajya Sabha. The Congress is well aware that any delay in the passage of the constitution amendment accepted by most states will result in at least one year’s delay. That appears to be the Congress’s strategy. National interest is least on its priority,” he added.

Sources said a “two-three-day session” could be convened in September as no major business could be carried out during the monsoon session that began on July 21 and ended on Thursday.

The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, which met on Thursday, decided not to recommend immediate prorogation of the houses. The two houses were, therefore, adjourned sine die on Thursday.

The sources said the decision to reconvene the monsoon session would depend on the progress the government makes in getting the support of opposition parties on the GST Bill in the Rajya Sabha where it lacks a majority.

The bill could not be taken up in the Rajya Sabha during the monsoon session despite government efforts.

The Congress forced repeated adjournments in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha over its demand for the resignations of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje over their alleged help to former IPL chief Lalit Modi and of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over the Vyapam recruitment scam.