Govt to table GST bill in Lok Sabha on Monday

Govt to table GST bill in Lok Sabha on Monday

The government will introduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill in the Lok Sabha on Monday, the penultimate day of the  winter session, while hoping to break ice with the Opposition for consideration of the insurance bill in the Rajya Sabha. 

The two legislations are high on the Narendra Modi government’s agenda. The Centre was keen on seeing them through Parliament in the winter session to set economic reforms rolling to revive ailing fiscal health. 

The government feels it can get the GST bill passed in the 2015 budget session though the BJP floor managers claim that all parties are on board except for the Trinamool Congress (TMC). 

A minister explained that since the GST bill seeks to amend the Constitution, it would require a two-third majority in both the Houses. Though the government will not face any hurdle in the Lower House, things may not be so smooth in the Rajya Sabha.

Apart from these two agendas, the government is in no mood to reach out to the Opposition which is in a belligerent mood.

A senior minister, involved in the negotiations with the Opposition, said they were still hopeful of having a debate on the insurance bill in the Rajya Sabha since out of the entire Opposition only the Congress, TMC and the Left parties are adamant on Modi’s intervention to resolve the four-day long deadlock in the Upper House.

The government and the Opposition are engaged in a war of attrition flexing numbers to their advantage in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha respectively.

On Thursday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government was ready for a debate on the issue of religious conversion with reply to be given by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and not the prime minister, who was present in the House.

He accused the Opposition of resorting to “arrogance of numbers” as they have more MPs in the Rajya Sabha. Communist Party of India-Marxist MP Sitaram Yechury hit back saying that the government was running the Lower House through “tyranny of numbers”. 

Senior ministers agreed that they have no choice but to win more states in the coming elections and get their MPs into the Rajya Sabha for having a majority in the House to push through reforms. And that can happen only after a year.

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