Stressing that his party was not against the Goods and Services Tax Bill, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh today said the support of his party, which has suggested four amendments, was vital to get it passed in the Rajya Sabha.
“Today the same person advocates its importance and does not want Congress to take credit for it,” he said, adding the GST bill in its present form has many shortcomings.
Spelling out the details of the amendments his party wants, he said they include fixing tax rate, compensation for nagarpalikas and panchayats and setting up of an independent dispute settlement system.
“We have told the government about these amendments but they have not agreed to them till now…the Goods and Service Tax should be good and simple tax but Modi and (Arun) Jaitley’s tax is neither good nor simple,” he said.
Admitting that two of the amendments of his party were not present in the bill prepared by the previous Congress government in 2011, he said the party came to know certain additional facts later on.
“It is Modi who has made a U-turn, but on our part it is a minor deviation,” he said.
On the Land Acquisition Bill, Ramesh said under the pressure of the opposition parties, the government has withdrawn six of the nine important amendments that were brought in the 2013 Act which was brought through consensus.
“The government brought 15 amendments through ordinances in the 2013 Act,” he said, citing the amendments demanded by his party.
“There are three points because of which the joint committee set up for the purpose is not able to present its report,” he said.
To a question, Ramesh said it is regrettable that from the government’s side there had been no contact or discussion either formally or informally. “…if we can arrive at a consensus we could have done the same on the GST but the responsibility for the same rests with the government,” he added.