1. Hope to pass GST, bankruptcy bill this session: Arun Jaitley

Hope to pass GST, bankruptcy bill this session: Arun Jaitley

The government hopes to pass the landmark Constitution Amendment Bill for a national Goods and Services Tax (GST) as well as the bankruptcy and insolvency bill in the second half of the Budget session beginning April 20, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today.

By: | New Delhi | Published: March 13, 2016 2:59 PM
Once the GST and the bankruptcy and insolvency laws are approved, "I think this gives major fillip or push to our reform process" even in an otherwise weak global scenario, Arun Jaitley said.(AP)

Once the GST and the bankruptcy and insolvency laws are approved, “I think this gives major fillip or push to our reform process” even in an otherwise weak global scenario, Arun Jaitley said.(AP)

The government hopes to pass the landmark Constitution Amendment Bill for a national Goods and Services Tax (GST) as well as the bankruptcy and insolvency bill in the second half of the Budget session beginning April 20, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today.

The GST bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha and is pending ratification by the Upper House, where the ruling NDA does not have a majority. After it is approved by the Rajya Sabha, the legislation needs to be ratified by half of the 29 states so as to roll out GST possibly by October 1.

“The current session of Parliament has already seen one landmark legislation two days ago. And I do hope to see another two being passed in the second part of the session with regard to the bankruptcy and insolvency laws and GST,” he said at the Advancing Asia Conference here.

The Parliament had last week passed the Aadhaar Bill, providing statutory backing to the unique identification number for transferring government subsidies and benefits. Also, the Real Estate Bill was approved by the Rajya Sabha.

Once the GST and the bankruptcy and insolvency laws are approved, “I think this gives major fillip or push to our reform process” even in an otherwise weak global scenario, Jaitley said.

Exhibiting determination to move on the reform path, India can provide a significant amount of growth to the world, he said.

“We are trying to have special emphasis now both in terms of legislative changes and resources being put to strengthen the banking system. I do feel that next few months, in bringing about structural change, are going to be extremely important,” the minister said.

Stating that India has its own share of problems, Jaitley said there was increased determination in the country to face the challenges and accelerate the pace of reforms so as to continue to grow.

“Our growth model is based on concerns to eradicate poverty,” he said.

The Constitutional Amendment to GST, India’s biggest indirect tax reform since independence, seeks to replace a slew of central and state levies, transforming the nation of 1.3 billion people into a customs union.

The Bill is supported by all parties barring Congress, which has 67 MPs in Rajya Sabha and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) with 12 members.

Congress, the original author of the tax reform, is opposed to the current “flawed” version and wants GST rate to be capped at 18 per cent, a proposed state levy scrapped and an independent mechanism to resolve disputes on revenue sharing between states.

The government has support of 155 members in the 242-member Rajya Sabha, short of two-third or 162 votes needed to approve the Constitution amendment bill.

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2015, which will replace the existing bankruptcy laws, aims to enact a comprehensive law to deal with insolvency of corporates and simplify investors’ exit.

The proposed law will cover individuals, companies, limited liability partnerships, partnership firms and proposes a time-bound framework — 180 days, extendable by another 90 days.

Currently, it takes, on an average, more than four years to resolve insolvency in India.

  1. M
    MK Vyas
    Mar 13, 2016 at 10:46 am
    But the government is not approaching Congress sincerely. It is government's responsibility to sort out the matter with opposition.
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    1. P
      pgb
      Mar 13, 2016 at 12:08 pm
      Why is he not ready to incorporate the suggestions of the Congress? One of the three points being raised is that there should be 18% cap on GST. We are already paying 15% service tax and without cap, the governments (not necessarily BJP) can be insensitive and common people may be affected by higher GST. Other points raised are also in the interest of the common people only.
      Reply
      1. P
        pgb
        Mar 13, 2016 at 12:10 pm
        Why is he not ready to incorporate the suggestions of the Congress? One of the three points being raised is that there should be 18% cap on GST. We are already paying 15% service tax and without cap, the governments (not necessarily BJP) can be insensitive and common people may be affected by higher GST. Other points raised are also in the interest of the common people only. The Congress has made it clear that they will p it as soon as the bill is amended as per their suggestion. I think their demand in this case is genuinely people friendly.
        Reply
        1. P
          pkpk
          Mar 13, 2016 at 8:35 pm
          BJP did not lose Delhi and Bihar elections because of lack of socialism? People in the street are not businessmen who will understand the benefits of bringing one party or the other in power? They behave strangely and unpredictably. They act with emotions. BJP had this historic opportunity to give new direction to this country but that opportunity has been squandered. What was needed was to go for painful hard decisions on economic, social and political reforms? Here are a few I can list if Modiji has willingness and guts to see India as an economic super power in next 20 years: 1. Reverse socialism with free enterprise (remove state from every enterprise. There will be lot of resistance by interest groups; ministers, babus, trade unions and contractors. But whatever the odds, close the eyes and do it. It doesn't require RS majority but iron will to do something good for the country). 2. Reduce tax rates drastically to attract foreign/domestic investment. Everybody knows in the world about business potential in emerging economies but they also see the other factors like taxation policy, babudom, rigid labor policies which prevent hire and fire quickly and easily. If in the bargain, social spending comes down, let it be so. No price is more when it comes to country's interest. 20% maximum tax should be the target. 25% maximum rate should be implemented by end of this government term. 20% by 2024 - Is Rahul also listening? 3. Business and enterprises leadership have a vision for next 20 years. Country's leadership should have vision for next 50 years. That means redesign your social sector schemes like MNERGA. No more FAWADA or BELCHA driven works but BULLDOZER, ROLLER, GRADER, PAVEL and other sophisticated machinery driven works with modern and lasting facilities. There should be no difference in quality of roads, electricity, schools, hospitals and malls between villages, towns, cities and metros. No more TALAB KHUDAI and KACHHI SADAKS. TALABS only produce mosquito and KACHI SADAKS damage cars and motor cycles, besides take longer to commute. Sometimes even no roads are better than gravel roads. That will require expert contractors and sophisticated machinery, so be it. Those will use less manpower, so be it. 50 years vision requires airports every 200 kilometers. A stage will come when railways will be used only for freight, plan for that NOW. 4. All parties should agree for a consutional amendment to hold general elections for parliament and emblies together every 5 years. Direct elections of RS MP should be made possible (US Senate model may be copied. We tried to copy House of Lords). Combine ministries of steel, mines, coal, oil, natural gas, textiles, heavy industry, communication and nuclear energy into ONE ministry - Ministry of Industry. Combine ministries of civil aviation, road transport and waterways into ONE ministry - Ministry of Transportation. Disband HRD ministry, education is state subject. 5. Three huge industrial corridors declared as free trade zones should be notified with 100 km depth on either side of the railway lines: (a) Delhi Mumbai. (b) Delhi Calcutta (c) Delhi Chennai These corridors should be tax heavens and are expected to provide jobs to locals. Please don't get fooled with the false accusations that farmers will be uprooted and agricultural produce will be lost. No country has been able to become rich and advanced without industrialization. 6. Empty slogans will achieve nothing, concrete action will. You don't need RS majority for everything. Even if you keep pleasing poor and farmers, and do nothing about 5 action points I've listed, what's the guarantee that BJP will return to power in 2019? What's guaranteed is however that India will still have poverty after 100 years, may be 1000 years if nothing is done and only political CHAPATTIS are cooked! Good luck Modiji.
          Reply
          1. S
            Suresh Bharadwaj
            Mar 13, 2016 at 12:02 pm
            At long last. We all hope the bills are ped and the Congress doesn't play truant yet again. Fingers crossed.
            Reply
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