Arun Jaitley hopeful of GST Bill passage in this session

By: | Published: March 14, 2016 1:13 AM

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says Bankruptcy Bill will also sail through

Finance minister Arun Jaitley and IMF chief Christine Lagarde on the concluding day of Advancing Asia Conference in New Delhi on Sunday (Photo: Amit Mehra)Finance minister Arun Jaitley and IMF chief Christine Lagarde on the concluding day of Advancing Asia Conference in New Delhi on Sunday (Photo: Amit Mehra)

Enthused by some headway made in legislative reforms in the current session of Parliament, finance minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday expressed the hope that the long-pending Constitution Amendment Bill on goods and services tax (GST) as well as the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code will be approved in the session.

The GST Bill, cleared by the Lok Sabha in the monsoon session, is currently pending in the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling National Democratic Alliance doesn’t have a majority and so the passage of the Bill with the requisite two-third majority is contingent on the opposition Congress supporting it. Seen as one of the biggest indirect reforms, the GST legislation also needs to be approved by half of the 29 states before the economically yielding uniform indirect tax is rolled out across the country.

“The current session of Parliament has already a land-mark legislation (The Aadhaar Bill) 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 law and GST,” Jaitley said at the Advancing Asia Conference organised by the International Monetary Fund and the finance ministry. The second leg of the ongoing Budget session would commence on April 25 and conclude on May 13.

On Friday, the Lok Sabha passed a Bill to give statutory backing to the unique identification number Aadhaar, paving the way for easy use of the same for smooth transfer of government doles and benefits to the population they are intended for. The Bill’s passage by Parliament is now a certainty, as the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling alliance is in a minority, has no power to block a Money Bill.

Also, on Thursday, the Rajya Sabha approved a Bill that seeks to protect home buyers, promote fair play in real estate transactions and ensure timely execution of projects.

The GST and the bankruptcy laws would give a major fillip to the reform process even in a weak global scenario.

With the other major economies growing at a slower pace, India could provide a significant amount of growth to the world, Jaitley 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 the next few months are going to be extremely important in bringing about structural change,” Jaitley said. Stating that India has its own share of problems, he said there was increased determination in the country to face the challenges and accelerate the pace of reforms so as to continue to grow.

The Constitutional Amendment on GST would replace a slew of central and state taxes on goods and services, create pan-India market and shun cascading of taxes. The government has introduced the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code in the Lok Sabha in December. The code could allow faster unlocking of stressed corporate assets and boost creditors’ ability to recover debts.

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