Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said the BJP-led central government will put the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill to vote in the Rajya Sabha in monsoon session of Parliament if the Congress continued to oppose it.
Jaitley’s remarks during an interview to the All India Radio came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi lamented that the constitutional amendment bill could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha after the Lok Sabha passed it on May 6 last year.
The Prime Minister’s appeal to regional parties to support the bill that will benefit states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar was seen as an attempt to isolate the Congress.
“I am trying my best to talk to them (Congress), so that they can come around. And if they don’t, then we’ll have no option but to put it to vote,” an AIR press release quoted the finance minister as having said.
The Congress is adamant on three changes in the bill, including a cap on the tax rate, in the current bill that government estimates say can push India’s GDP by 1%-2%.
Jaitley has in the past rejected the demand for a cap on the GST rate, saying it will need constitutional amendment every time to change the tax rate, which will be decided by the GST council.
Banking on the support of regional parties, this is for the first time that the government has talked about putting the draft legislation to vote if consensus eluded the passage of the bill that seeks to abolish the local levy systems and introduce a pan-India tax for goods and services.