Government looks to budget session for passing GST Bill

New Delhi, Dec 16 (IANS) The government is mulling waiting till the budget session of parliament to secure passage for the Goods and Services Tax Bill, a highly placed source said on Wednesday.

The government is expecting improved numbers in the Rajya Sabha in April 2016 since a number of Congress members are retiring in March and April next year.

In March, five nominated members of the upper house are retiring. The BJP-led government will get to nominate new members.

“Instead of getting the bill passed now with compromises, we can get it passed in April 2016,” the source said.

The Congress is adamant on at least three changes in the GST Bill to enable its passage in the Rajya Sabha.

“If not in April, the GST can be implemented in May, June or July… it will be a matter of delay of a few months only,” the source added.

According to government sources, all parties, except the Congress and AIADMK, are supporting the GST Bill at present.

A constitutional amendment legislative measure, the GST Bill needs to be passed by a two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament and by the legislatures of half of the states in the country to become law.

This would enable GST to be introduced across the country. Following this, parliament and state legislatures will need to pass the GST bills that impose central and state GSTs.

The government is in a minority in the Rajya Sabha. The bill was sent to a select committee of the upper house, and a report is with the house now.

GST is seen as key to facilitating industrial growth and improving business climate in the country. By subsuming most indirect taxes levied by the central and state governments — such as excise duty, service tax, Value Added Tax and sales tax, the Goods and Services Tax proposes to facilitate a common market across the country.

The government earlier wanted to implement the new GST from April 2016.

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