With GST in mind, Modi government planning special Parliament
session in September
Economic Times, August 18, 2015
mulling over calling a special session of Parliament sometime in
the second week of September to pass the Constitution (One
Hundred and Twenty Second) Amendment Bill, 2015- or the Goods
and Services Tax Bill- and is in talks with all political
parties to get the requisite 2/3 majority in Rajya Sabha where
the NDA is in a minority.
Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, headed by Home Minister
Rajnath Singh, had decided against proroguing the monsoon
session of Parliament to keep the option open of holding a
special session at short notice to pass the crucial Bill.
"The session is
likely to be called after the first week of September and will
be a two and a half day or three day affair. The GST
constitutional amendment Bill will be passed by the Rajya Sabha
incorporating some of the amendments suggested by the Opposition
and then cleared by the Lok Sabha again in its new form," a
senior minister told ET.
government is in the process of reaching out to political
parties to win their support for the Bill. Once the government
is sure of the 2/3 majority of those present and voting, the
CCPA would be convened to fix the dates, sources said. BJP
leaders did not rule out the possibility of Prime Minister
Narendra Modi having solicited AIADMK support for the Bill when
he met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa last week.
AIADMK has 11
members and has expressed its dissent against theGST Bill as it
feels Tamil Nadu will suffer due to the uniform tax system as it
is a manufacturing state. The Centre has promised to address its
Congress- which had
initiated the GST Bill in 2006- is strongly opposed to it in the
present form and is insisting on three key amendments, including
capping the tax at 18% and removing the one percent additional
tax. Finance Minister has ruled out incorporating these changes
and said these are an "afterthought" of the main opposition
aimed only at stalling the Bill. With 68 members, Congress would
be the biggest stumbling block in passage of the Bill.
It is not clear if
JD (U)- having 12 members in the Upper House- will support the
The other political
parties are amenable to supporting the GST Bill. Government is
keen on meeting the April 1, 2016 deadline for the
implementation of the landmark tax system that would arguably
increase the country's GDP by one to 1.5%. After both Houses of
Parliament clear the constitutional amendment, half of the
states will have to pass it.
With Rajya Sabha at
present having a total strength of 244, 163 members will
constitute a 2/3 majority if all are present and voting.
Government would have to bank on some parties staging a walkout
to get the numbers. Union ministers have been tasked with
mustering the numbers before the special session is convened,
The Bill has already
gone through a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha but could not
be passed as the Opposition forced a virtual washout of the
session on the Lalit Modi and Vyapam controversies.
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