Congress wants five changes in GST Bill
The Congress party has demanded five amendments to the Goods and Service Tax (GST) Bill to ensure smooth passage of the reform legislation in the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament beginning next month.
The main opposition party, whose support is crucial for the government to pass the Bill in the Rajya Sabha, wants inclusion of tobacco and electricity duty to be included in the GST. The party also wants the Bill to have provisions for a dispute settlement mechanism to deal with matters that cannot be settled by the GST Council.
“The Bill moved by the then Finance Minister P Chidambaram in 2011 had this provision. It was taken out by the Modi government,” a senior Congress leader said.
The Congress party is also insisting on abolishing one per cent entry tax the Centre plans to levy over and above the GST to cover transportation costs of the goods manufactured in a particular state.
It also wants the government to spell out the compensation formula in the Bill.“There is merit in the demand of the states for a full 100 per cent compensation for revenue losses in the first five years unlike the provision in the present bill of 100 per cent compensation in the first three years, 75 per cent in the fourth year and 50 per cent in the fifth year,” former prime minister Manmohan Singh had said earlier this month.
Also, the Congress does not want the GST to exceed 18 per cent and insists that this be spelt out clearly in the Bill.
The GST Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha but was referred to the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha for examination after an adamant Congress refused to support in its current form.