The government is reasonably confident that the long-pending Goods and Services Tax (GST) Constitutional Amendment Bill will be approved by Parliament in the monsoon session starting July 18, the two newly appointed ministers of state for finance said on Wednesday.
In a major Cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appointed Santosh Gangwar and Arjun Ram Meghwal as Ministers of State for Finance. Jayant Sinha, who was the MoS for finance, was made the MoS for civil aviation.
Before assuming charge, both, Gangwar and Meghwal, met finance minister Arun Jaitley. The two took charge in the presence of Jaitley and senior ministry officials, including finance secretary Ashok Lavasa and economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das.
Talking to reporters soon after, Gangwar said there was no real opposition by any political party to the goods and services (GST) Bill outside Parliament. “No party opposes GST outside Parliament. All parties are for GST, but they put some hurdle or the other (in Parliament). I think all parties (will support) in getting GST passed in the monsoon session,” Gangwar said when asked about Congress’ opposition to GST.
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The Congress has been demanding some changes in the GST Bill, including mentioning a GST rate cap in the Constitution. The government has indicated that it is willing to drop a plan to introduce a 1 per cent tax on inter-state transactions, but can’t mention GST rate in the Bill as it would require the government move Constitutional amendment Bills whenever there is a change in rate.
Prior to the reshuffle, Gangwar was the MoS in the ministry of textiles (independent charge) and also MoS for Parliamentary affairs, water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation. He is a seven-time Lok Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh. “India offers huge opportunity. I was in textiles before this. Textile industry has got a very good package,” Gangwar said while referring to the Rs 6,000-crore package approved by the Cabinet last month.
“The world is looking at us with a positive attitude,” he added.
Meghwal, an MBA from University of Philippines, is known for cycling to Parliament during sessions and rode a bicycle on Tuesday as well while going for the swearing-in ceremony to the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Meghwal also said he was confident that the GST Bill will be approved in the monsoon session. “We will like to speed up the process of economic growth and achieve the economic goals, so that the benefit of economic development will reach the last mile,” he said. A former bureaucrat-turned-politician, 61-year-old Meghwal was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 2009 from Bikaner constituency in Rajasthan. He was re-elected in the 2014 elections. With FE & PTI