Constitutional amendment bill for GST gets RS nod

Parliament, lok sabha, rajya Sabha, army deployment, centre, tmc, opposition, prime minister, narendra modi
Parliament, lok sabha, rajya Sabha, army deployment, centre, tmc, opposition, prime minister, narendra modi

The thirteenth day of monsoon session marked a history, as second biggest financial reform since 1991, Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill has been passed in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

The bill cleared a major hurdle in Rajya Sabha , with the backing of opposition. The Indian National Congress announced its support for the Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014, with little modifications. The bill is passed with 203 votes, receiving complete support from the Rajya Sabha.

While addressing the house, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said “The Congress party was never against the idea of GST. The country is now ready to embrace the GST,” he also mentioned that his party had opposed the 2014 bill but not the “idea”.

Once the bill was passed, Arun Jaitely said that “this is democracy and federalism at its best.

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Six official amendments, including scrapping of 1% additional tax, moved by the government were approved with cent per cent votes.

The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha earlier. It will now go back to the Lower House to incorporate the amendments approved by the Rajya Sabha. The bill will also have to be approved by 50% of all the state assemblies.

AIADMK was the only party to oppose the measure and its members staged a walkout from the House to register their unhappiness over the bill which lays the ground for rollout of uniform Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime that will subsume all indirect taxes including central excise duty and state VAT/sales tax.

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The easy passage was facilitated after the main opposition party Congress, which had been stalling the measure for over two years, came on board after the government made about six changes in the bill, including scrapping of 1 per cent manufacturing tax and incorporate clearer provisions for compensating states for revenue loss for five years.

Replying to the debate during which most parties pressed for a Constitutional cap on GST tax rate at 18%, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the guiding principle would be to keep the “rates as low as possible, certainly lower than what it is today.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, called it a historic occasion and also thanked leaders and members of all parties.

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