Chidambaram seconds Jaitley on delayed over flawed GST bill

New Delhi, Dec 20 (IANS) Former finance minister P.Chidambaram on Sunday said that he agreed with his successor, Arun Jaitley that a delayed Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill is better than a “flawed” one,

“Agree with FM @arunjaitley. A delayed GST is better than a flawed one. Present GST Bill is flawed,” Chidambaram said in a tweet.

“Congress’ three weighty objections & the bill could be passed. One per cent tax is anyway dead. Scrap the provision,” he said in another tweet.

The Congress is asking for a cap on the GST rate to be included in the constitution amendment bill, as also scrapping the proposed one percent additional tax on inter-state movement of goods on grounds that this would have a cascading inflationary effect on prices.

“Rate cap can be provided in the bill through skillful drafting. Talk to the opposition,” Chidambaram said.

He also tweeted that “No state is opposed to independent dispute resolution mechanism. Set it up.”

Jaitley had made his assertion at industry chamber FICCI’s annual meeting last week.

At an interaction with industry chambers here last week, Jaitley said the Congress’ precondition that the cap of 18 percent GST be placed in the constitutional amendment was difficult to accept because it would make raising taxes for exceptional reasons very difficult.

“Can tariffs be cast in stone? Suppose we need to increase some taxes, we’d have to amend the constitution,” he said.

“Give up the rigidness on constitutionally prescribed (GST) tariffs, which can become an albatross around the necks of future generations,” Jaitley exhorted the Congress on Saturday.

At an all party meeting held by Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari on Friday, the opposition, after weeks of confrontation on various issues, has agreed to pass certain bills in the Rajya Sabha in the last week of the session, but consensus was elusive on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill.

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

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