After 4 weeks of disruption, can GST be passed in 4 days?
DNA, August 14, 2015
Hours after a
turbulent monsoon session came to an end, the government gave
indications that it was keeping a window open for passage of the
Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill soon to roll out the reform
measure from April, 2016.
Committee on Parliamentary affairs has decided against
recommending immediate prorogation of both Houses, which have
been adjourned sine die, so that the government would have the
option of reconvening a short session for passage of GST.
Arun Jaitley said the government was determined to have the GST
implemented by April next year. While he refused to disclose the
strategy for passage of GST in Parliament given the Congress
stand, Jaitley exuded confidence that the numbers were loaded
against the Congress on the Constitution amendment, which
required two-third majority, in Rajya Sabha.
The government is
banking on the 'isolation' of Congress on GST to get the bill
passed in Rajya Sabha, where Opposition outnumbers the treasury
benches. While it was not clear how the ruling side would avert
a repeat of the monsoon session, which was a washout over the
Congress demand for resignations of BJP leaders, the message
that government had not given up on keeping to the GST timeline,
would be a boost to investor confidence.
"I am an eternal
optimist..... I hope the hostile reaction of public opinion will
infuse some sense in the Congress. Secondly, the numbers in the
Rajya Sabha keep changing," Jaitley said.
He said if the bill
got pushed to the Winter Session, it would be 'extremely
difficult' for GST to keep to the April timeline. Asked if the
government would convene a special session, he said a decision
would have to be taken on it.
Under Article 85 (2)
of the Constitution, the President is vested with power to
prorogue both houses of Parliament, but if the Houses are not
prorogued, it is considered an ongoing session and can be
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