No GST in this session of parliament

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Still, no hope on GST

But, on the political score card, the GST remains as a negative mark for Modi-government as the session concludes (Lok Sabha finished its business on Wednesday, Rajya Sabha is likely to follow suit today). The Modi-government has failed so far to build a consensus on the GST law, touted as the biggest economic reforms of the decade, leaving the biggest tax reform a pipedream for the economy.

In the beginning of the session, there were hopes that the Congress-party led opposition would soften its stance on GST Bill—something which is a brainchild of earlier UPA-government. But, the political climate turned when the Agusta episode dominated and put the opposition on war path. The result was GST turning casualty yet again.

There aren’t any unresolvable reasons that could block the GST Bill except lack of political consensus. There are three major points of contention between Congress and BJP on GST issue. 1) Inclusion of the GST rate (agreed around 18 percent) in the constitution 2) Doing away with the inter-state levy 3) Constituting an independent dispute resolution mechanism.

Of the three, the only major point of difference is capping GST in the Bill, but not something that has the potential to perennially block the passage of the crucial piece of reform. For instance, a solution such as empowering a joint committee involving the centre and state governments (including Congress-ruled states) to set the GST rate, isn’t difficult to agree upon. The other two demands are actually non-issues.

Category: news update

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