Congress wants 18% cap in GST in constitution: Kamal Nath

By: | Published: December 5, 2015 4:10 PM

Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath on Friday said that the BJP's hesitation to put an 18 per cent cap in the Goods and Services Tax in the Constitution is a "sticking point" in thrashing out a solution.

kamal nathKamal Nath, a former Commerce and Industry Minister, said that the Congress was not insisting of 18 per cent tax which can be lower but it wants a cap and that “it would insist on a Constitution amendment.” (PTI)

Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath on Friday said that the BJP’s hesitation to put an 18 per cent cap in the Goods and Services Tax in the Constitution is a “sticking point” in thrashing out a solution.

“We stand by GST. We want a good GST. We do not want a sloggy GST. We will insist on a Constitutional provision. Why BJP is hesitant….that is the sticking point”, Nath said in an interview to Karan Thapar in the ‘To the point” programme on India Today TV.

Replying to questions, Nath, a former Commerce and Industry Minister, said that the Congress was not insisting of 18 per cent tax which can be lower but it wants a cap and that “it would insist on a Constitution amendment.”

He said that inclusion of cap through a Constitution amendment would ensure that no changes are made into it by a simple majority in Parliament and it would enforce principles of consensus.

He also dismissed as ‘absurd” government’s proposal to have Council of States as the Disputes Redressal Mechanism wondering “how could disputers become the disputes redressal mechanism?”.

On its demand for an independent mechanism, Nath said that it was not stressing on an outright judicial mechanism and a quasi judicial body could be created. “We can work out some kind of dispute redressal…”.

He also made it clear that the Congress will not compromise on its demand of dropping altogether one per cent tax to compensate the manufacturing states saying it negates the very purpose of free movement of goods across India, which is the key objective of the GST.

At the same time, he said that GST is a Congress bill and it is “optimistic” about its passage. He said that his party would like the proposals of the government first as the ruling dispensation seems to be confused on the issue.

“We came out publicly with our three points, government should come out clearly what are their concerns about them”, he added.

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