GST Bill to be taken up in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday; BJP, Congress issue whip to MPs
The government has listed the long-pending GST Bill for discussion in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, hoping it will be passed through consensus.
In view of the development, the BJP has issued whip for all its Rajya Sabha MPs to be present in the House for the next three days.
“The GST Bill is listed for Wednesday. We hope it will be passed through consensus,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters here on Monday.
The government had initially planned to take up the Bill on Tuesday but opted to delay it by a day so that parties have enough time to talk to their members.
“The mood is in favour of passing the bill,” Ananth Kumar said, adding that talks are being held with different political parties as the bill concerns all the states.
BJP sources said the whip has been issued in connection with the key reform bill, which has been high on the government’s agenda but stalled by Congress over some provisions.
The BJP-led NDA government lacks a majority in the Upper House but has managed to get support of several regional parties on the legislation.
To bring Congress on board, the government last week cleared changes in the constitutional amendment bill, including doing away with the additional 1 per cent tax by producing states and compensating all states for any revenue loss in the first five years post the GST roll out.
In the first official confirmation, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi yesterday said that the party will support its passage when the Bill is tabled in Parliament.
Noting that there had been movement on the subject, Singhvi said that the government's decision to table a fresh GST Constitutional Amendment Bill was a "clear sign of convergence".
The GST was first mooted by the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government.