Special session likely over GST Bill

Special session likely over GST Bill

The Central Government is mulling over convening a special session of Parliament to pass the GST Bill as the ongoing monsoon session is set to be a washout with an unrelenting Opposition unlikely to allow both Houses to function in the remaining four working days.

Preparing for the worst, government sources said the floor managers are contemplating a special session sometime next month to pass the GST bill and meet the April 2016 deadline for rolling out the economic reforms enabling legislation.

Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi utilised his personal equations with Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalitha to soften her party AIADMK’s opposition to the Bill. Modi reportedly assured the chief minister of addressing her party’s concerns about the Bill as they have been arguing that the state stands to lose revenue if the new tax regime unfolds.

The AIADMK along with Congress and Left parties had submitted dissent notes before a parliamentary select panel submitted its report to the House on the GST bill during the monsoon session.

Modi engaged Jayalalitha during a luncheon meeting at the latter’s residence in Chennai on Friday. The government would need the ruling Tamil Nadu party’s support to push through the legislation in Rajya Sabha where the NDA members are in minority.  

During an interview aired a day before, union finance minister Arun Jaitley hinted at the Modi government’s hopes of clearing the Constitution amendment Bill. "Monsoon session washout doesn't mean end of GST. April 1, 2016 deadline is ideal for both states and Centre," Jaitley had told a news channel.

The Congress has decided to nail the bill despite conceiving it during the UPA regime – an obstructionist strategy since the government is not yielding to its demand for the  resignation of a union minister and two chief ministers caught in controversies.  

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