GST Bill introduced in Rajya Sabha

Last Updated 11 August 2015, 18:43 IST

The government on Tuesday succeeded in introducing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill in the Rajya Sabha.

However, the Congress party objected the move and blocked a debate on the Bill, thereby putting a question mark over its passage during Monsoon Session. As Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moved the much-delayed Constitution amendment bill in the afternoon session of the Upper House, Congress members rushed to the Well shouting slogans.

Introducing the GST Bill after the House unanimously passed the Appropriation Bills, Jaitley accused the Congress with trying to stall the country’s economic progress by blocking the crucial legislation on overhauling the indirect taxation system.

“The issue relating to the External Affairs Minister is merely a pretext. The real reason is that they do not want the Indian  economy to grow, and, that is why, session after session, they have been looking for one pretext or the other to make sure that the GST legislation, which will give a boost to India’s GDP and economy, is not passed. If the Congress party wants the economy of this country to slow down — when every political party is in support of it — they must candidly say so,” Jaitley said.

The minister’s response came after Congress leader Anand Sharma said a discussion on the GST Bill cannot be taken up as it was not discussed in the Business Advisory Committee and no time had been allocated for it. Jaitley responded saying, the Bill was listed during the last session and time was alloted to it.

As pandemonium continued, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien adjourned the House for the day. “This being a Constitution Amendment Bill, I cannot take up the Bill in pandemonium,” he said.

Outside the House, Jaitley attacked Congress president Sonia and her son Rahul Gandhi for stalling the GST Bill, saying they had taken the defeat in 2014 elections badly and were creating obstacles in the path of growth.

“GDP will be boosted. That is the economic consensus, if GST is introduced. But Congress for some reason does not want that. Its policies were a liability on the economy of this country, when the Congress was in the government. It continues to be a liability on the economy of this country even when it is in opposition,” he added.

The Congress was unmoved and it charged the BJP with trying to create confusion on the issue to “hide the government’s economic failure”.

“We are happy that Arun Jaitley now finds GST (to be) of public interest after years of opposition by the BJP,” party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters.

(Published 11 August 2015, 18:43 IST)

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