Finance Minister Arun Jaitley fears missing GST roll out from April 1

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Updated: September 9, 2015 11:35:40 AM

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that it is only a matter of time before GST is passed as almost all parties are supporting it.

Arun jaitleyFinance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that it is only a matter of time before goods and services tax (GST) is passed as almost all parties are supporting it. (PTI)

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday expressed fears that the main opposition party Congress may obstruct the constitutional amendment bill on Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the upper house of Parliament, hurting the government’s plan to roll out the new tax from April 1 next year.

”I would like to see GST being implemented by April 1, 2016. But if this kind of obstructionism remains, then perhaps the Congress party will succeed in hurting India’s economy and delaying it for some time,” Jaitley said.

This is for the first time, a senior minister of the Narendra Modi government has dropped hints that Congress party may not have come on board to support the Bill if the Parliament is reconvened later this month.

On August 12, Parliament’s monsoon session was adjourned sine die without a consensus on the GST bill, after failing to reach an agreement with the Congress party and the Left Front. The ruling National Democratic Alliance, which lacks numbers in the Rajya Sabha, needed the support of opposition parties to get the Bill approved. The government has a comfortable majority in the Lok Sabha. Constitutional amendment bills need to be approved by the both the houses of Parliament by a two-third majority.

So far, the Congress party has thrown a spanner in the government’s plans to convene a reconvene the session of Parliament to push through the bill by sticking to its demand for action against External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Chief Ministers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh for their alleged misconduct.

Analysts say India badly needed GST to simplify and rationalise the complex structure of taxes at the Centre and state levels to boost economic activity in the country.

Below are the highlights from his speech

-Only a matter of time before GST is passed; almost all parties are supporting it
– India doing reasonably well in global turmoil and can embark on a much higher growth
– NPAs in banking sector matter of concern, but there is no ground to panic as solution to the problem in sight
– Examining steps to prevent dumping in the steel sector
Black money is a problem confined to a few individuals
– Govt will not be soft on black money; it is the fundamental right of a country to get the black money into the banking system
-Less than 1% of those individuals who file taxes face scrutiny
– Govt has no intention of retrospective taxation. It’s been put to rest

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