Former PM Manmohan Singh lent his strong backing to the goods and services tax (GST) bills on Thursday.

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As amendments to the bills were being taken up in Rajya Sabha by deputy chairman PJ Kurien, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh said he was not moving them. “Former PM Manmohan Singh has taken this approach in the spirit of consensus and in respect of the federal structure,” he said.

As soon as the four bills were cleared, finance minister Arun Jaitley walked up to Singh and shook his hands. Singh congratulated the BJP member on passage of the bills.

Manmohan Singh termed the move a game changer. “It could be a game changer but can’t assume there will be no difficulties on the way,” the former PM said after the bills were passed.

Jaitley said, “When it came to the larger interest of the nation, all political parties have spoken in one voice.”

Earlier, while replying to doubts raised by several opposition members on certain provisions in the bill, Jaitley said the GST bill was a “collective achievement” in which all states and political parties had contributed.

Several MPs expressed reservations over powers given to taxmen in the GST bill and wondered whether states would get enough share in it.

Jaitley informed the House that even though J&K was not covered under GST due to Article 370, the state government was bringing its own legislation which would be aligned with the central arrangement.

The FM agreed that there were would be some problems in implementing GST during the transition phase. “It is true that if an idea as radical as this is moved, it will take time to digest,” Arun Jaitley said.

Read more at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/manmohan-singu-lends-strong-support-to-gst-bills/articleshow/58056828.cms