Govt pushes for major reforms

Advancing tabling of GST Bill sends strong signal

Govt pushes for major reforms

The introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, originally planned for Monday, was advanced to Friday as the government decided to send a strong signal that it was pushing ahead major economic reforms.

The fate of another key legislation, the Insurance Bill, being taken up by the Rajya Sabha remains in limbo since only two days is left for the winter session get over on Tuesday.
In Rajya Sabha, it was another day of chaos in the pre-lunch session as the Opposition kept up the demand for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement on conversion issue that has paralysed the House functioning. The House, however, passed the Appropriation Bill.

The GST bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in the afternoon to send across message to people that the NDA was keen to get the reform rolling and off-set growing impression that nothing much substantive work is happening.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his introductory speech described the GST as the “single biggest tax reform since Independence” and to allay apprehensions, he said that it offered a “win-win situation” for both the Centre and states.

Government sources explained that they rushed the bill to avoid a possible situation where some opposition ruled states may start scoring brownie points by taking objections to some portion of the legislation though states were taken on-board before giving a final shape to it.

The discussion on the bill, which seeks constitutional amendment, will take place during the next budget session. Though the opposition and the government have failed to come to the same page over ruckus in the Rajya Sabha, bonhomie was reflected in the Lok Sabha on terrorism issue.

But with the numbers on their side, Opposition ensured that the government was not able to introduce the Insurance Bill. Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad made a forceful demand that Modi should reply to a debate on the conversion controversy but the government did not budge from its stand that only Home Minister Rajnath Singh would respond.

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