Even as the Rajya Sabha is all set to pass the GST Bill, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is non-committal on meeting the implementation date of April 1, 2017. “I wouldn’t want to take about a specific date. There are a lot of functional modalities involved,” Jaitley told Times Now. “You see there are a lot of things involved. Once the Rajya Sabha passes the bill, there are three more legislations that need to be cleared. Two by the central Parliament and one by all state assemblies,” Jaitley said, adding, “over the next few months I hope that these legislations will be passed. Then the implementation work will take some time,” he explained.
The bill, which has already cleared Lok Sabha, is likely to be sent back to the lower house after it gets passed in the Rajya Sabha. This is due to some amendments that the government has agreed to make in the GST Bill to get support of political parties, especially Congress. With the government also assuring support to states in terms of compensation for resulting revenue loss, the GST Bill expected to see a smooth passage today.
For the Bill to sail through the RS, two-thirds of its members (among not less than 50% present) should vote in its favour. While the ruling National Democratic Alliance has 72 members, several major non-NDA parties like SP, NCP, Trinamool, JD(U), CPI(M), etc, are inclined to support the Bill along with many independents. As the Congress with 60 members in the 244-member Upper House is set to support the Bill, its passage now looks almost certain.