South Asian Observer - News From Back Home News : Congress party threatens to block landmark GST bill
LAST UPDATE : Updated : 25 May 2017 08:00 hrs EST E-paper  |  Tell A Friend  |  About Us  |  Feedback  |  Contact Us
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India's main opposition Congress party will not support a landmark tax reform in a parliamentary session that begins on Tuesday unless Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses its concerns about the measure, a senior lawmaker of the party told Reuters. After years of political wrangling, India finally managed to bring before parliament a goods and services tax (GST) bill that seeks to transform the country into a common market, harmonising a slew of state and central levies into a national sales tax. However, compromises made to enlist the support of recalcitrant states have made businesses as well as experts sceptical about its impact. The Congress is equally opposed to the bill in its current form and wants Modi to address those concerns to secure its support for the bill. Its opposition to the measure compelled Modi to send the bill, after its passage in the lower house in the last session, to a parliamentary panel for a review. But the committee has approved broad provisions of the bill, three members of the panel said on Monday, overlooking its concerns. Mani Shankar Aiyar, a Congress lawmaker as well as one of the members of the review committee, said the party will put in dissenting notes. "Congress says we support a bill that is both simple and comprehensive," he told Reuters. "Since this particular bill is neither and is littered with exemptions and unjustified provisions, we have given about a dozen amendments and we would like them to be accepted." The government is keen to get the bill passed by parliament in its upcoming session, but it will need the support of Congress to ensure its passage in the upper house. "The government has the opportunity to reach out across to Congress whether they choose to do that only time will tell," he said.
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