Cong terms on GST not fair, says Naidu

Cong terms on GST not fair, says Naidu

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s latest assertion that his party will support the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill if its conditions are accepted has failed to revive the government’s hopes of its early passage in Parliament.

A day after Gandhi said the GST Bill will be passed in Parliament “in just 15 minutes” with his party's support if the Narendra Modi government accepted conditions laid down by it, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said it was not “not fair” on its part to set conditions for the passage of the measure.

Naidu maintained that if the said clauses were so crucial, the UPA could have brought these in the original bill when it was in power. “Rahul Gandhi said (yesterday) the government (should) agree with Congress's conditions for the passage of the bill. The government has agreed. The issue is about this cap which Congress has not proposed and it had not proposed it when it brought the bill and is suddenly now making it a condition. That is not fair on its part to demand a cap now," he told reporters here.

“Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has explained the position. Subsequently, he has communicated to the Congress interlocutors that is their leaders in Rajya Sabha about the government's thinking and response to the proposals given by the Congress party except the one that is putting a cap which is not liked by anybody," Naidu said. “If it is so important, Congress could have brought it in the original GST bill which it had introduced.

Pranab Mukherjee was the Finance Minister at that time. (When) he brought the bill this cap was not there. Subsequently, P Chidambaram was steering the GST bill. He did not think it necessary,"  he said.

Naidu held that “many learned people have said there is no need to have any cap as far as taxation percentage is concerned. Other than that, there is a broad agreement. Whatever the Congress has suggested, the FM has responded positively.” The GST Bill has been approved by Lok Sabha, but is stuck in Rajya Sabha, where the ruling BJP does not have a majority.

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