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Arun Jaitley seeks support of regional parties to back the GST bill

Jaitley will visit Hyderabad this weekend to meet TDP leaders and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and TRS supremo and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.

By: PTI | New Delhi |
July 19, 2016 8:14:49 pm
Telangana, Arun Jaitley Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, Finance Miniter, GST, Goods and Services Tax, Parliament, Parliament news, India news, TDR, TSP, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is cpunting on support from regional parties to pass the GST bill. (PTI Photo)

Ahead of the GST test in Rajya Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday met Bihar Chief Minister and JDU leader Nitish Kumar and is likely to court senior leadership of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana parties – TDP and TRS – this weekend.

Jaitley, who is counting on support of regional parties for passage for the Constitutional Amendment Bill on Goods and Services Tax (GST), met Kumar in Parliament House in New Delhi.

GST and support for government stand against Congress demand for a constitutional cap on the tax rate figured in the discussions, official sources said.

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Kumar, they said, supported government stand that tax rate should not be mentioned in the Bill and the decision should be left to the GST Council.

Also figured in discussions was Bihar government’s demand for release of backward region grant for the state.

The government, which has agreed to a five hour debate on the GST bill in the Rajya Sabha, is keen to get the law passed during the current Monsoon Session of Parliament that ends on August 12.

Jaitley, sources said, will visit Hyderabad this weekend and is likely to meet TDP leaders and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and TRS supremo and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.

TDP has six members in the 247 member house, while TRS has three. JDU has 10 members in a House where the ruling NDA does not have a majority. Congress with 60 members is the single largest party in Rajya Sabha. BJP has 53 members.

The Congress, which originally mooted the GST in 2009 to replace all indirect taxes, has been demanding that the overall rate be capped at 18 per cent and scrapping of an additional 1 per cent tax designed to compensate manufacturing states that fear losing revenue.

GST Bill, which intends to convert 29 states into a single market through a new indirect tax regime, was earlier planned to be introduced from April 1 this year, but the deadline was missed as the Bill to roll it out remains in a limbo in the Opposition-dominated Rajya Sabha.

After Parliament approves the constitutional amendment to allow GST, it needs to be ratified by more than half of the states. Then, Parliament must pass another Bill to implement GST.

After the Constitution Amendment Bill is passed in Parliament, there are three more legislations – Central GST (CGST), State GST (SGST) and Integrated GST (iGST) – which are required to be passed.

The GST Bill, which will help create a single national sales tax to replace several state and central levies, has already been approved by the Lok Sabha and is pending in the Upper House.

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