Senior ministers give a GST push by meeting Cong leaders

Traders and industry bodies to hold a conference in support of the bill

GN Bureau | December 14, 2015



Looking to push through the crucial goods and services tax (GST) Bill in parliament, two senior ministers today held a meeting with Congress leaders to work a way out even as trade and industry bodies resolved to begin a campaign for its early passage.

Parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu and finance minister Arun Jaitley held a meeting with Congress leaders Anand Sharma and Ghulam Nabi Azad to discuss the possible passage of the bill in Rajya Sabha. As a compromise formula, the Congress has been told that the government is willing to abolish the 1% additional tax and may look at including GST rate in a separate bill.

With just eight working days left in the winter session of Parliament, there is little hope of the goods and services tax bill getting passed as the Congress appears unrelenting about disrupting business in the Rajya Sabha on some issue or the other, but the government has not given up hope and is trying to hold informal parleys with the main opposition party.

Meanwhile, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) and industry bodies such as Ficci, CII, Assocham and PHD Chamber have joined hands for the first time to launch in support of the GST bill by holding a GST conference on December 16 in New Delhi.

"The joint campaign is derived from the idea of reaching out to political parties and trade and industry to apprise them of the advantages and benefits of GST that could accrue if implemented early," a sjoint statement said.

CAIT secretary general Praveen Khandelwal said GST is "a ray of hope" to get rid of the complex taxation system since it will integrate various central and state-level taxes, which will pave the way for a simplified and rationalised tax structure.

The Constitutional Amendment Bill to roll out GST is stuck in the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling NDA is in a minority.

The government aims to roll out the proposed indirect tax regime from April 2016.

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