Winter Session: Govt seeks support from Opposition on GST


New Delhi: Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill, hung in the last parliamentary session is expected to be revived in the upcoming winter session. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley expressed the BJP-led NDA government’s enthusiasm to debate with the Congress-led UPA Opposition on the prospects of bringing amendments to the bill.

Although, Jaitley mentioned that the some of the suggestions made by Congress are not the larger interest of the bill.

However, the Opposition is actually helping the NDA government by its fractured stance on the bill. Congress doesn’t have a clear position on the bill as they are not ethically against the principles of the GST. 

Several of the Congress allies are not against the bill such as the IUML and the Kerala Congress. The Kerala Congress (M) said they were not adversarial to the GST.

It should be noted that the committee of state finance ministers is currently chaired by K M Mani of the Kerala Congress (M).

However, the government strongly wants to implement GST by April next year. Although it can get delayed if the bill is not passed in the Winter Session.

The government, in the meantime, is trying to tweak the demands put forth by the opposition parties. If all the demands proposed by the Congress party are accepted that would lead to doing away with more than a dozen state-owned levies.

This tax reform is one of the most ambitious adaptation to create a single market since India’s Independence.

The GST was proposed in 2006-07 by the UPA government and the then administration had also accepted the changes recommended by the Empowered Committee and the Standing Committee on Constitutional amendment, piloted by the ruling party.

The government is now trying to appeal to parties like AIADMK, Samajwadi Party and Janata Dal (United) to help reduce government’s isolation.

Emphasising on the cooperative intentions of the government, Arun Jaitley was quoted as saying in an interview with a newspaper, “We are reaching out to them, we are willing to discuss with them because some of these suggestions may not necessarily be in the larger interest of the GST structure.”