Hopeful of GST Bill passage: Panagariya

New Delhi, Dec 7 (IANS) With the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill listed for discussion this week in the Rajya Sabha, NITI Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya on Monday said he was hopeful about its passage in parliament.

“We are moving in the right direction on GST. I am optimistic we shall resolve the whole issue. I am upbeat and optimistic,” Panagariya told reporters on the sidelines of a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) conference on small enterprises.

“A lot of changes will happen. GST will hopefully come into play. There would be a new budget. Finance ministry is committed to the fiscal consolidation roadmap. At this point this is the thinking and you expect us to stick to it,” the National Institution for Transforming India vice chairman said.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said on Monday that the Business Advisory Committee of the Rajya Sabha had allotted four hours for consideration and passage of the GST bill.

The bill, which seeks to usher in a pan-India common market by reforming the indirect tax regime, was passed in the Lok Sabha in May but has been opposed in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling NDA does not have a majority.

Opposition parties are against the proposed 1 percent additional tax aimed to benefit the “producing states” like Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.

Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said last week that the central government was seeking a consensus on the vexed issue.

Addressing the CII’s Global SME Business Summit, Panagariya urged industry to improve efficiency rather than asking for tax reliefs to increase profitability.

“We will not progress into transformational kind of growth unless we think bigger like China. Tweaking tax regulations here and there will not help. For a transformational kind of change you need very different demands from the industry,” he said.

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