Manmohan now opposes GST Bill

Some changes not good for economy, says former PM

Manmohan now opposes GST Bill

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh stated that the  GST bill which would be taken up in Rajya Sabha on Monday  should be referred to a select committee since the Centre has “brought certain changes that are not good for the economy”. 

Singh’s remark made it clear that the Congress has most probably firmed up its position unlike its move in the Lok Sabha where they had similar demand but staged a walk out at the time of voting helping the government by default to push the GST legislation through the House.

“We are not opposed to it. But there are new elements in the new bill, which need to be looked at. So it should be sent to the Select Committee,” Singh told reporters on Saturday his reaction was sought on the bill.

The Congress has also issued whip to its MPs to be present in the Houses for the next three days before parliament session comes to an end.

On Friday, the Congress had created ruckus in Rajya Sabha on for action against Union minister Nitin Gadkari, who has had connections with Purti Group companies, denying space to the government for bringing the bill.

Singh said that while Congress is in favour of the Bill, “they (government) have brought certain changes that are not good for the economy’.

Now government would find  it difficult to push through the bill in Upper House even with the help of regional parties such as Trinamool Congress, BJD and others who are in favour of it, given that two-third majority required to pass the constitutional amendment bill.

The Congress has 68 members and AIADMK too is against the bill. The party which is ruling in Tamil Nadu argues that the GST in its present format would lead to heavy revenue loss for the state.

Being in minority in the House of Elders, the government may have to accept the opposition’s demand though Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had opposed the idea.

The Congress leaders during their interaction with government floor managers have offered support to the bill once it comes from the select committee in the next monsoon session. It is learnt that Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and its Deputy Leader Anand Sharma have conveyed their commitment on the bill to Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu.

The government had to accept Congress’s demand of referring even real estate bill to a select committee after Rahul Gandhi dubbed the proposed policy as “pro-builders” and anti-flat owners.

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