The Lok Sabha Tuesday took up the constitution amendment bill for GST but the government was forced to backtrack in the Rajya Sabha on the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill. Both bills are set to face hurdles in the Rajya Sabha, with a consensus reportedly emerging among opposition parties that GST should be referred to a select committee and the government indicating to the opposition that it was willing to refer Real Estate to such a committee.
Congress floor managers said they have managed to bring most parties on board over GST even as the Lok Sabha discussed the constitution amendment bill. The House is set to vote Wednesday. A constitution amendment bill requires a two-thirds majority of those present and voting in both Houses.
Sources said the Congress has reached out to most parties and the consensus is that the bill needs fresh scrutiny by a parliamentary panel, something the Congress accuses the government of bypassing. “Fifty-one bills have been brought to Parliament and only seven of them have been sent to the standing committee. Why are they bypassing the standing committee?” LokSabha MP Gaurav Gogoi said at a Congress briefing.
As far as the Real Estate Bill is concerned, Congress floor managers said the government has indicated it will be referred to a select committee. With Rahul Gandhi having met home buyers and slammed the bill as “pro-builder”, the Congress cannot afford to allow the bill to be passed.
The bill was listed for consideration and passage Tuesday but a belligerent opposition forced Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu to backtrack. He announced he would not take up the bill for consideration until consultations with parties is over.
The Samajwadi Party’s Naresh Aggarwal said the bill was listed in the day’s business despite a clear assurance from Naidu that he would revert to the House after consultations with all political parties. “This seems to indicate that the government’s intentions are not clean,” Aggarwal said, emphasising that since the bill is the property of the Upper House, it can only go to the select committee and not even to a joint committee. Ghulam Nabi Azad referred to notices submitted by the JD (U)’s Sharad Yadav and himself to send the bill to a select committee.
Naidu said the bill had been listed as a “matter of abundant caution” as it is business left over from earlier sittings but he would not press for it to be taken up. “I did speak to some people over the phone during the weekend; many said they would want to talk in person. Some others I spoke to today. I could not complete the consultation process. Once I complete it, I will come back to the House.”
He added he would like the House to consider, before the end of this session, whether or not to send the bill to a select committee. When some members objected to this, he said he would bring the bill only after after consultations are complete.
With Abantika Ghosh