Fate of GST bill hangs in balance as Oppn hardens stand

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 31, 2015 02:22 IST

On a day when Moody’s questioned the pace of India’s reforms process, the fate of many proposed legislations concerning reforms in tax, real estate and land acquisition among others, were hanging in the balance as the opposition hardened its stand against the government.

Faced with the opposition’s non-cooperation in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling NDA is in minority, the Narendra Modi government tried exercising its executive authority and issuing ordinances to implement its reforms agenda.

But government sources told HT that rolling out the goods and services tax (GST) could not be done through an ordinance as it is a Constitution (Amendment) bill. This would mean a delay of at least a year in the implementation of the GST that was planned to roll out on April 1 next year.

In an informal meeting with ministerial colleagues on Wednesday, parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu is said to have conceded that passing the GST and land bill may be difficult in the current monsoon session.

“On the GST, Congress filed a 7-point dissent note. Six out of those 7 points were related to provisions of (former finance minister) P Chidambaram’s bill. It was a dissent against Chidambaram’s bill,” finance minister Arun Jaitley told Times Now on Thursday.

And since the opposition is so vehemently against the amendments to the land bill, the government is not keen on pushing it in the current session.

BJP sources said the government was confident of transacting “some business” in the remaining days of the session. The Centre hopes to get parliamentary approval for some non-contentious legislations like SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Bill, Juvenile Justice Bill, and Whistleblower (Amendment) Bill, among others.

There are only 9 working days left in the current session. Given that the opposition is in no mood to relent, there is unlikely to be any move on the part of the government to extend the session.

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