Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to speak on the Constitutional Amendment Bill for ushering in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) when it comes up for passage in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
The bill, which was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, is expected to sail through the Lower House where it is being tabled again due to the amendments passed by the Rajya Sabha. It was passed by Lok Sabha last year.
Dubbed the biggest economic reform since 1991, and nearly a decade in the making, the GST regime will replace a mesh of different state and local taxes with a single tax and turn India into a unified market. The new taxation regime is expected to boost the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Modi, who was criticised by the Opposition for not being present in the Upper House when the GST Bill was discussed on Wednesday, is likely to intervene during the debate on the bill in Lok Sabha.
The Congress, which has said it will support the bill, has directed its lawmakers to be present in the House on Monday when it is taken up.
Hoping for early implementation of the GST regime, senior Union ministers have spoken to the chief ministers of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)-ruled states to ensure that the constitutional amendment is ratified by state assemblies at the earliest.
The chief ministers are learnt to have assured the Centre that if required, they will call a special session for the passage of the bill in their state assemblies. The GST Bill has to be ratified by at least 16 states in 30 days after it is passed by Parliament.
Revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia told Hindustan Times in a recent interview that the GST council, which will be mandated to set the rate of the tax, will have to work overtime to meet the expected roll-out deadline of April 1, 2017.
“Yes, we are hopeful and positive (about the April deadline). About the administrative work of the central government, I am 100% confident, but it would be difficult to give similar guarantee in respect of the time taken in the process of achieving consensus on various issues. That is crucial,” he said.