GST Deadlock: PM Modi Meets Top Minister To Firm Up Strategy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday night held a meeting with the top minister of his cabinet to firm up strategy for the long-awaited Goods and Service Tax (GST) bill.

According to reports, the government will most likely table its proposal for the tax reform to the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian have been busy in holding several rounds of exhaustive negotiations with leaders of Congress and other parties, including the Samajwadi Party, the Janata Dal-United and the Communist Party of India-Marxist.

“We have our fingers crossed,” Jaitley said in a statement to the media.

Of the 32 parties, 30 are now supporting the bill.

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Discussion on the matter is going on with different political parties to build a consensus. The government is hopeful of passage of the Bill,” Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters outside Parliament on Friday.

“Most of the parties are on board,” he added.

Dubbing the GST as an “instrument of growth”, the Congress, however, said on Friday that it must be passed but it must be practically implementable.

“There is no final assurance yet given to government either by Congress or other Opposition parties,” Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala told a press conference.

The Congress leader said that “issues” are still being deliberated and the party is willing to negotiate.

The party, however, welcomed the Union cabinet’s decision to approve key changes in the proposed legislation, including dropping the proposed one per cent additional tax on inter-state sale.

Congress sources said party Vice President Rahul Gandhi also expects a positive outcome from these consultations, which have entered a “decisive and positive phase”.

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