A day after it abandoned a plan for holding a special session of Parliament, the government said on Thursday that it could advance the winter session for passing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill. The government wants to roll out the new GST regime from April next year. The proposed measure is expected to boost India’s GDP by one to two per cent.
“Still, there is scope…Once the Bihar elections are over, we can make one more effort…We have the winter session, it can be advanced…We can still meet the deadline (of April 1, 2016),” said Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu.
The winter session normally gets underway in the third week of November and concludes before Christmas. The five-phase Bihar Assembly elections are scheduled to begin from October 12. The results will be declared on November 8. Naidu indicated that the session might be advanced by a week or 10 days.
Calling Congress’s reasons to oppose the government’s move for a special session “totally irrational”, Naidu urged the opposition party to “eschew negative politics and engage with the government.”
“They (Congress leaders) want to block the progress of the country thinking that they are blocking Narendra Modi, but Modi is here to stay at least till 2019,” said Naidu.
“I am terribly disappointed that we could not have the extended session to take up an important legislation like GST Bill, which is the need of the hour. But I have not given up my hope,” he added. When asked if the Government was prepared to accept the three amendments being pushed by the Congress, including a tax ceiling of 18 per cent and setting up of a regulatory mechanism for GST, Naidu said all of that will be discussed in Parliament.