New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday indicated that the government may not be able to pass the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill in the ongoing session of Parliament, but will introduce the Bankruptcy Bill.
Accusing the Congress for delaying GST for “collateral reasons”, he said: “Some people do get sadistic pleasure in seeing India slow down. But then, it’s a sadistic pleasure at a very severe national cost. We cannot allow that.”
The minister further said the government will push through changes in the arbitration Act and commercial court Bill in the Rajya Sabha in the remaining “crucial” three days of the winter session, which ends on Wednesday.
Addressing the FICCI AGM, Mr Jaitley said, “I have no doubt in my mind that attempt to delay (GST) is entirely for collateral reasons. And the only collateral reason I suspect is if I couldn’t do it, then why should somebody else do it?”
He maintained that “a delayed GST is better than a flawed GST”. The minister added that he would “still urge and persuade” the Opposition to give up their rigidity on Constitution-prescribed tariffs.
“The Constitution-prescribed tariffs actually can be an albatross around the neck of the future generation. And we owe it to them not to create situations of this kind,” he said.
Congress leader Anand Sharma said, “It (GST) is not going to happen in this session. We will engage with them, but this is not the right time. April 1, 2016, is not sacrosanct and not achievable at all.”
The GST Bill is stuck in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling NDA government does not have a majority as well as stiff opposition by the Congress. The government had planned to roll out GST from April 2016.
Asked if the Congress would support the bankruptcy Bill, Mr Sharma said: “We are in favour of passing what is urgent, what is appropriate.”