GST Bills: Seven-hour marathon debate in Lok Sabha today; supplementary bills to be discussed
A stormy debate is likely in the Lok Sabha today as the Opposition has objected to the manner in which the legislations were introduced on Monday
The Lok Sabha will hold a seven-hour discussion on the Goods and Services Tax - the biggest tax reform - without a lunch break on Wednesday.
The government had on Monday tabled four bills - the Compensation Law, the Central-GST or C-GST, Integrated-GST or I-GST and Union Territory-GST or UT-GST - aimed at rolling out the much-awaited reform in the Lok Sabha.
The reform will subsume a host of taxes such as central and state taxes like excise duty, service tax and VAT, and local taxes to make a single market, helping seamless movement of goods and rendering of services across the country. It is estimated that rolling out of the GST can add up to 2 percent to India's economic growth.
The discussion in the Lok Sabha comes even as the government aiming for 1 July rollout. Passing of the laws in the current session of Parliament is a must to meet the deadline as the Centre and the states will otherwise lose their right to collect indirect taxes after 15 September.
Ahead of the lengthy debate, finance minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday briefed lawmakers about the four GST bills introduced in the Lok Sabha.
Jaitley told MPs that the passage of these bills, which were introduced in the Lower House, will result in one-nation one-tax regime.
He explained in detail the four bills to MPs and how they would be beneficial to the common man. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier said the government wants to build consensus for the passage of these bills. Modi was also present in the meeting.
The approval of Parliament, coupled with separate nods by all the State assemblies, will complete the legislative process for the rollout of the reform.
The GST Council has already approved four-tier tax slabs of 5, 12, 18 and 28 percent plus an additional cess on demerit goods like luxury cars, aerated drinks and tobacco products.
The work on for putting various goods and services in the different slabs is slated to begin next month.
However, the debate is likely to be stormy as Opposition MPs had protested against the manner in which the bills were introduced in Parliament on Monday. They said they were not given enough time to study the proposed legislation.
Raising his objection, Congress member KC Venugopal said the introduction of these bills was not listed in that day's agenda and asserted that parliamentary procedures must be followed while dealing with important issues.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs S S Ahluwalia said the bills were uploaded on the government website on Friday midnight.
The Opposition MPs took strong objection to the statement saying how could the government expect the members to check the website at midnight and why the issue was not discussed at the meeting of Business Advisory Committee last week.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, All India Majlis-e- Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi and TMC's Saugata Roy were among those who opposed the way the GST bills were introduced.
However, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan dismissed the opposition objections.
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