Govt tests waters for spl session in Sept

Centre keen to pass GST and land bill

Govt tests waters for spl session in Sept

The government on Tuesday reached out to the Congress to explore the possibility of convening a special session of Parliament to pass the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu drove down to meet Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge to probe whether the main Opposition party was agreeable on GST, particularly at a time when the country is grappling with volatile markets and a plunging rupee.

However, Kharge said he would first like to know what amendments the government planned to the GST Bill and whether changes suggested by the Congress were included in it.

The government has kept the option of re-convening the Monsoon Session as it has not asked President Pranab Mukherjee to prorogue the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.  This would enable the government to reconvene Parliament for the second part of the monsoon session at a short notice.

Had both the Houses been prorogued, the government needs to give a notice of 21 days for summoning a session.

Apart from the GST Bill, the government is also keen to pass the land bill, the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill and the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill in the extended session.

Naidu said he would also hold discussions with all political parties before taking a decision on recommending to the President to call the second part of the Monsoon Session.

The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill or the GST Bill has been dubbed as the biggest tax reform since Independence as it aims at rolling out a uniform indirect tax regime across the country.

The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha, but could not muster enough numbers in the Rajya Sabha as the Congress and other Opposition parties insisted on changes. The government is in a minority in the Upper House and was forced to refer the bill to a select committee.

After the committee submitted its report, the Congress drew the red lines insisting that the government scrap the additional 1 per cent tax over and above the GST, cap the GST at 18 per cent and setting up of the grievance redressal mechanism to solve disputes between states. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had rejected the Congress’s demands.

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