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Full throttle for GST: Govt asks BJP-ruled states to ratify the bill this month

india Updated: Aug 06, 2016 00:21 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times
GST Bill

Finance minister Arun Jaitley addressing a press conference at Parliament House after the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha in New Delhi on Wednesday evening. (PTI )

After getting the Rajya Sabha nod for its ‘one nation, one tax’ idea, the Centre plans to go full throttle to roll it out from the next financial year.

The Lok Sabha will take up the Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill on Monday, to enable the rollout of a unified tax regime subsuming a host of local levies and taxes.

The government’s floor managers are burning the midnight oil to ensure its early ratification by at least half of the state assemblies as well. Approval of at least 15 states is required to make the bill an act. The Rajya Sabha passed it on Tuesday.

On Thursday, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu spoke to all nine chief ministers from the BJP and asked them to ensure that the bill is passed by their respective state assemblies this month. A source said the CMs have been asked to convene special sessions of the assemblies, if required.

“The PM has asked senior colleagues to reach out to Opposition-ruled states with request to pass the bill at the earliest,” a Union minister said. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar gave an assurance in this regard to the Centre on Thursday.

Modi is expected to intervene during the debate on the bill in Lok Sabha. He was under the Opposition’s fire for not speaking in the Rajya Sabha during the debate.

The BJP has issued a whip to its members in the Lower House to remain present on August 8.

Modi, sources said, has also asked his senior ministers to ensure a full house on Tuesday when the Lok Sabha takes up the bill for the passage.

An informal group of 15 senior BJP MPs have been formed to coordinate with 278 Lok Sabha MPs of the party. BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya spoke to the chiefs of the party’s state units, advising not to engage MPs in any organisational activities until the bill is passed by Lok Sabha. For those undergoing treatment, arrangements are being made for air ambulance and medical facilities at the Parliament complex.

The Prime Minister has communicated to floor leaders that Union ministers should stay in touch with opposition parties and ensure full turnout in the opposition benches as well. Parties with single MPs, too, will be reached out.