Today in the Lok Sabha, four Bills related to the Goods and Services Tax or GST will be debated, as the government pushes to meet a July 1 launch date for the unified GST tax regime. It classifies numerous indirect taxes at the centre and in states.
Lok Sabha takes up GST Bill
The debate is likely to begin at noon today, with union minister Arun Jaitley speaking first. Former union minister M Veerappa Moily from Congress will be first speaker, from the opposition side.
10 facts in this big story:
The Government has requested the Speaker to bypass Zero Hour today only to start the debate at noon, immediately after Question Hour saving time.
Mr Jaitley briefed BJP members of Parliament at a meeting also attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday. He explained the four bills and how they would help set up a one-nation one-tax regime.
The Congress said the bills in their current form are “not satisfactory”. Today Congress speakers will raise their concerns and demand changes in the bills.
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On Tuesday, at a meeting, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi told his party’s lawmakers that they should play the role of a productive opposition. He also told them to raise the issue of the farmers’ distress. And press for a farm loan waiver in Parliament.
The government, which has a big majority in the Lok Sabha, expects to get the lower house’s approval for the GST bills with ease in the vote at the end of today’s debate.
The government has to ensure that this entire process is wrapped up by April 12. When the Budget session on Parliament ends, to be able to to meet the July 1 launch date. It has already missed an earlier deadline of April 1 for GST roll-out.
The bills will then go to the Rajya Sabha or upper house for discussion. Because they are all “money bills”, the Rajya Sabha can suggest changes which taken back to the Lok Sabha. The Lok Sabha can choose to accept or reject the this proposals.
However, the bills debated today are the Central GST bill, the Integrated GST bill, the Union Territories GST bill and the compensation law.
GST is expected to boost the rate of economic growth by about 0.5 percentage points, broaden the revenue base and cut compliance cost for firms.