New Delhi: Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Monday sought opposition parties’ help in passing the Goods and Service Tax (GST) Bill in the parliament’s winter session beginning from November 26.
As he urged the opposition parties not to go by political considerations on the GST Bill, the Congress said the government should address its “pro-consumer” concerns on the bill.
I appeal to political parties not to have political considerations and think in terms of national interest,
Naidu said the GST Bill was the need of the hour, as it had been pending for several years.
Naidu said he was discussing the issue with some opposition parties and their meaningful suggestions could also be taken into consideration.
The GST Bill intends to simplify the indirect tax regime in the country, broaden the tax base and result in better tax compliance due to a robust IT infrastructure.
The bill has been pending in the Rajya Sabha where the National Democratic Alliance government lacks a majority.
Congress leader R.P.N. Singh told reporters here that the government should address the party’s concerns which were in favor of consumers.
Singh said the bill was brought by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government but could not be passed, as it was held back due to the stance of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
He said the Congress’s demands include a cap on the GST rate at 18 percent, deletion of the provision which allows the imposition of one percent tax by additional levy, an independent dispute resolution mechanism and compensation to Panchayat and urban bodies for loss of revenue along with that to the states.
The deal is getting into controversies because of the allegations de by the opposition, especially Congress
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2015 made the announcement that India will buy 36 French-manufactured Rafale fighter jets from Dassault, a French aircraft builder and integrator. This came to be known as Rafale Deal.
The Rafale deal of 36 Rafale aircrafts between India and France was called a “win-win partnership” for both the countries.
But recently it has come under attack of the Opposition, mainly the Indian National Congress, which has alleged that there have been irregularities in this deal and its proceedings. However, the government has denied and rejected all the charges.
The Rafale Deal is nothing new and was also signed during the time of UPA government. The first time it came to light was during the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee where the original proposal was to buy 126 fighter jets.
After tests and negotiations in 2012, Rafale was considered L-1 bidder and negotiations started which only came to a conclusion as the Rafale Deal in 2015 under Prime Minister Modi’s government.
Now the UPA alleging irregularities on NDA government doesn’t seem fair to many because no deal took place under their government. The transfer of technology was a primary issue of concern between the two sides. Dassault Aviation also tried to deny to take the responsibility of quality control of the production of 108 aircraft in India. The Dassault provided for 3 crore man-hours for production of the Rafale jets in India, HAL’s estimate was approximately 3 times higher which resulted in an escalation of costs in the manifold.
Prime Minister Modi’s visit to France in 2015 helped bring this deal to a final conclusion. The government-to-government deal of 36 jets was to completed as soon as possible.
On costs of the Rafale Deal, NDA government has said that it got better terms than those quoted in the original bid under the UPA government. The total savings are reported to be of more than 1600 million Euros. However, the cost breakdown of Rafale Deal in the original bid under UPA government and in the 36 aircraft in the NDA’s government-to-government deal is not available for the public domain.
Under the current agreement, the Rafale Deals support the ‘Make In India’ initiative of the Indian Government through the IGA’s Article 12. It states that France will facilitate the implementation of ‘Make In India’. These critical design technologies were already discussed between the two governments in previous meetings. The present Rafale Deal is signed between two sovereign governments and there is no private individual, firm or entity involved in the process from the side of India. The procurement process also does not include any private company or firm from India.