Modi government is leaving no stone unturned to bag consensus for the much talked about economic reform GST. Goods and Service Tax (GST) Bill will come up for discussion in the Rajya Sabha on August 3, according to some television reports. The fact that Congress President Sonia Gandhi and senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad will not be in Delhi, is being cited as the reason for the Bill not being tabled on Tuesday. Senior members of the government, including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar and I&B minister Venkaiah Naidu, met Congress leaders today. The discussions on GST from Congress’ side were led by Anand Sharma, suggest reports.
According to some estimates, the first year revenue loss for the government on account of GST may be as much as Rs 30,000 crore. Earlier it was reported, that the Congress, which wanted three major changes in the Bill, including dropping 1% tax on inter-state trade, handing over of the disputes arising from GST to an independent panel and capping the rate in the Constitution itself, has relented after several rounds of talks with the government. Also, states have been assured of full five-year compensation for any revenue loss. The Bill has already been passed in the Lok Sabha. The current monsoon session of Parliament will end on August 12.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that India cannot afford to have an indirect tax system, where one is taxed at every point. The proposed GST will subsume most of the indirect taxes. He believes that the ‘one nation, one tax’ regime (under GST) will reduce the taxation levels and also eliminate corruption.