New Delhi: The BJP has issued a whip to all its members to be present in the Upper House when it takes up the crucial GST bill for discussion on 8 July 2016. The centre is confident that it will be able to pass the GST bill in the Rajya Sabha and has got most of the opposition parties on board. The ruling National Democratic Alliance has 72 members in the 245 member assembly and requires the support of 163 members to get the Constitutional amendment bill to be passed.
The senior ministers in the Union Cabinet have informed that the ruling alliance and the opposition are on the same wavelength especially the Congress and the government is confident that it will be being passed in the present monsoon session.
The Congress is treading very carefully and seeks some space for saving itself from the bitter after-effects, which is sure to happen for a short period. It did concede that a broad consensus has been reached with the ruling coalition and it is now waiting for the fine print of the bill.
The Congress is going around the town boasting that it has forced the centre to concede to two of its primary demand –removal of 1% additional tax on supply of goods and compensation for five years to states for any loss accrued during the transfer to the GST regime. Congress also said that the government even though not going to legislate on the 18% cap on the GST rate, will keep in mind the concerns of the chief opposition party and offer an alternative.
The bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha where the NDA has got a ¾ majority which is necessary for the approval of any Constitutional amendment bill. The careful planning by the Government has however been marred by the latest comments by Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar’s comments about Actor Amir Khan with the opposition demanding an explanation from the Government.
The Defence Minister was quoted as saying how the RSS and the people have taught a good lesson to Aamir Khan and major e-commerce SnapDeal of which Aamir is a brand ambassador. The actor has since been removed from the position. The opposition has termed the Defense Minister’s remarks as another indication of the intolerance spreading n the society. The crucial GST bill could once again fall prey to acrimony and melee if the opposition goes back to its old ways of not allowing the proceedings to go on in the parliament.
The ruling coalition is targeting tomorrow for the crucial voting for the bill and will be racing against the August 12 deadline when the Monsoon session ends.