The BJP leadership has issued a whip to all its party MPs requesting them to present in the Rajya Sabha for the next three days. This is because the government is preparing to place crucial Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill in the upper house of parliament.
Expected to be tabled on Wednesday, the government is all set to circulate the proposed bill with amendments cleared by the cabinet among all the representatives of the parties.
Tactics by Congress
In the meantime, the Congress which has better numbers in the upper house is also making its own preparations. The formerly ruled party has so far used the magical figure number to stall the bill.
The Congress party led by former minister P Chidambaram and senior leader Anand Sharma will interact with the representatives about the discussions on the floor of the house. The leaders will also communicate the changes made to the bill.
Consensus not yet
Even though the government has made several concessions to build a general consensus over key issues, there is still no agreement over the core demand of the Congress to mention a cap on the rate of GST directly in the bill.
GST Bill Benefits
With only a few days left for the conclusion of the current monsoon session, the government is in a hurry to pass the bill at the earliest. This is essential not only to save face but also to bring in transparency.
If passed, the GST will serve a single national sales tax instead of several small taxes, which is a huge burden for both buyers and sellers.
Recently, the government held detailed negotiations with all major political parties. Despite differences, all political parties agreed in principle the clauses of the proposed bill.
Enough support for GST bill?
Since the Constitution needs to be amended, the GST bill should be passed with a two-third majority of the Rajya Sabha. The government feels that it has garnered enough support from all parties and the bill will be passed even without Congress help.
However, Congress needs to abstain from voting for it to happen. It is highly unlikely that Congress will vote against the GST bill since it will bring bad reputation and credibility for them.
Defence Minister’s trouble
Recently, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar attacked Bollywood actor Aamir Khan and told that the actor should be taught a lesson over his reported “intolerance” remark. This has fuelled a debate between Congress and the ruling BJP in the government’s quest to pass the GST bill.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reportedly told Parikar to clarify his stand on the house. This is to avoid any sort of problem when the GST bill is about to be pushed into the house. The government doesn’t want to create any sort of roadblocks before the passage of the bill.