Winter session of Parliament: Goods and Service Tax (GST) which will absorb local levies and indirect taxes has already missed many deadlines, will the Opposition’s onslaught against the Centre over the demonetisation affect the passage of GST? The Answer could be, YES! According to Hindustan Times report, The priority for Congress is to corner the BJP-led NDA over the demonetisation of 1,000 and 500 rupee notes. “Right now, the main issue is the surgical jumla (drama) of the demonetisation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The GST is not in our radar screen,” Congress strategist and Rajya Sabha MP, Jairam Ramesh told HT. “I think the GST is a forgotten issue. Let us first see if the session runs or not. Then only the possibility of GST being passed arises,” said Ramesh.
Even as the government may not require the Opposition’s support to pass the GST legislation, a united opposition might as well delay the passage of the bill through chaos and ruckus in the House. The Rajya Sabha may not get a chance to vote on the GST bill as the government is likely to introduce it as a money bill — such bills do not require the approval of the Upper House.
The Centre wants to pass the GST bill to roll out the new tax regime from April 1, 2017. “We are getting the Constitution amended for GST on which discussions have been on since long… since Congress’ time. I am confident that we will do those amendments and pass the GST,” home minister Rajnath Singh said recently.
In the last session, the government managed to pass the Constitution amendment bill on the GST as the Congress and other opposition parties came on board. Now, with a hostile opposition gunning for the BJP-led government, it might be a tricky situation for pushing the GST bill. “Thousands of ‘rich’ and ‘corrupt’ persons standing in queue. The poor are cheering from their homes! Banks are doling out cash to citizens. That is proof that ‘Achhe Din’ has arrived! Millions of working people standing in queue. Long live productivity,” former finance minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday tweeted, taking potshots at the government.