Desperate on GST, Govt Plans Special Parliament Session


New Delhi: Despite facing severe protest and a parliamentary deadlock clamped by the opposition parties The NDA government may have hit a roadblock in its effort to push its reforms agenda by getting the Constitution Amendment Bill on Goods and Services Tax (GST) passed in the Rajya Sabha in the just-concluded Monsoon Session, but it has not given up yet on the legislation.

As per reports, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is planning to call a special session of Parliament at the end of this month to seek approval for the biggest ever tax reform for the country. As per reports in the media, the government could call the session from August 31 and the same could run for between two to five days.

While Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday did not say anything on the government's strategy, the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs decided to keep its options open by not proroguing the Monsoon Session. Jaitley yesterday did reiterate that the government was determined to implement the GST regime by its self-imposed deadline of April 1, 2016.

"I will not reveal the strategy but I would clearly say we are determined and it would be our endeavour to roll out GST from April 1, 2016," he said.The government had earlier said that if the GST Bill was not passed by Parliament by the end of the Monsoon Session, it would be difficult to implement it by April next year.

While the Lok Sabha has approved the enabling bill for GST, it has yet to be passed by the Rajya Sabha. The Goods and Services Tax Bill seeks to replace all indirect taxes with a uniform levy.

Indirect tax reform GST proposes to create an uniform tax rate across the country by subsuming excise, service tax and other local levies. GST is estimated to boost India's GDP by 1-2 per cent.Ruling out joint session of Parliament for the passage of GST Bill, Jaitley said it is not an option as it is Constitution amendment.

"Passage of Constitution Amendment bill is an enabling provision,” he said, adding, "after that 50 percent of state assemblies have to clear it. Subsequently, three legislations, one at states and two by Centre have to be passed. Draft Bills relating to these are ready."