Tuesday February 19, 2019
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Keen on GST bill, government may convene Special Session

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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.

(IANS)

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Quota Reservation Bill Moved in Rajya Sabha

The Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill was passed after a division with 323 members voting in its favour and three against in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday

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The Rajya Sabha was adjourned till afternoon following protests by opposition members amidst a demand that the Constitution bill providing for upper castes reservation be sent to a Select Committee for detailed consideration even as the government sought to push ahead with its passage on the last day of the winter session on Wednesday.

With Lok Sabha having passed the Constitution (124th Amendment) bill providing for 10 per cent reservation for the economically weaker sections among the general category in government service and higher educational institutions, Social Justice Minister Thawarchand Gehlot moved it for consideration in the upper House.

CPI member D. Raja, who objected to the consideration of the bill, demanded that it be sent to a Select Committee and the House should first take a decision on it.

Madhusudhan Mistry of Congress said the Bill was not complete and told the government that it cannot have both introduction and voting on the same day. He asked what was the urgency in the passage of the Bill.

Members were also protesting against the “unilateral” extension of the session till Wednesday saying it was done without consulting the opposition. They said the Chair did not announce a day’s extension in the working days of the House nor did it seek the members’ consent.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel said the Congress was raising technical issues to stall the Bill. “If you openly oppose the Bill, it is different. Otherwise, let’s have a discussion on it as it has already been introduced,” he said.

Quota reservation bill moved in Rajya Sabha.

Moving the Bill, Gehlot said the Constitution does not allow reservation on economic basis and due to that poor people in general category miss out on opportunities.

“There was a complaint by poor of the general category that they could not avail of government benefits. The decision has been taken after much consideration. This bill will uplift the poor,” he said.

He appealed to the members to pass the bill unanimously. This was followed by the start of the debate by BJP member Prabhat Jha. But as shouting and uproar continued, Deputy Chairman Harivansh adjourned the House till 2 p.m.

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The Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill was passed after a division with 323 members voting in its favour and three against in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day too, the House was adjourned once up to noon after protests by members on the “unilateral” extension. (IANS)