Finance minister Arun Jaitley will chair the meeting of state finance ministers on Goods and Services Tax, which is likely to discuss various vexed issues that is holding up the passage of the much-talked-about tax reform in the Rajya Sabha. There are indications that the Congress may hardening its stance on the Bill after the National Herald case flared up over the weekend.
Congress is trying to arm twist the government for getting relief in the National Herald case for which their dynastic leaders Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi along with other Congress leaders are facing a case of cheating and forgery for which they are out on bail. Furious with the criminal case slapped on them, Congress is keeping the country in ransom with their objection in GST bill which will help the country to grow.
"The removal of the one per cent additional tax on inter-state trading may come up for discussion at the empowered committee meeting," a government official said.
On Friday, while listing out government business for the week beginning 25 July, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said in the Rajya Sabha that the GST Bill will come up for discussion next week.
"(This is for) further consideration and passing of the Constitution 122nd Amendment Bill, 2014, as passed by the Lok Sabha and as reported by the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha," he said in the Upper House.
The Congress is hardening its stance on the Bill after the investigating agency booked former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in the National Herald cheating case in which Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul is already facing the trial.
“I think the objections raised by Congress are purely political as the government has shown its intent to agree on two of their demands … The only issue is the point relating to putting a cap on 18 per cent tax rate either by incorporating it in Constitution or through some via medium in the Bill so that it can be amended by Parliament. I still think that if Congress wants the Bill to be passed, things can still be worked out and a solution can be arrived at. They should not hold it for political reasons,” said Naushad Forbes, president, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
“I can’t understand why the whole nation should not get the benefit of GST just because of this argument on imposing a constitutional cap on 18 per cent tax rate … It can always be put in Constitution by the Congress at a later date when they have the numbers to do so but don’t hold it up now as it is something that will benefit the entire nation,” said RC Bhargava, chairman, Maruti Suzuki India.