GST bill pending in RS requires amendment: Chidambaram

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Former Finance Minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram said the GST bill pending in the Rajya Sabha is “flawed” and required amendment.

 The Union Cabinet approved amendments to the GST bill, dropping the 1 percent manufacturing tax and also incorporating words that guarantees compensation to states for first five years.

“We support the GST, we are the original proponent of the GST idea. The bill (pending in Rajya Sabha) is flawed and therefore we say the bill requires amendment. Opposing a bill which is badly drafted,” he said, adding that he does not know what amendments were cleared by Cabinet yesterday.

 By doing away with the 1 percent inter-state tax over and above the GST rate, the government has met one of the three key demands over which Opposition Congress has been blocking the Bill in the Upper House.

 The other demands of including GST rate in the statute and a Supreme Court judge-headed dispute resolution body has not been accepted. 

 “I don’t know what the present position is. The Congress party has authorised Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mr. Anand Sharma to talk to the Finance Minister. Only when they report back to the congress party, will I know what the position is,” Chidambaram told NDTV.

 He said Opposing a bill which is badly drafted or which is flawed does not mean that Congress is opposing the reform.

 “On the contrary asking for a more perfect bill, I am not saying that a completely perfect bill is possible, is in fact supporting reform. Passing a flawed bill is anti reform,” Chidambaram said.

 According to sources, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian held several rounds of talks with leaders of Congress and other parties including the Samajwadi Party, JD(U) and CPI(M) to build a consensus on the GST Constitutional Amendment Bill. The bill, after incorporating the changes cleared by Cabinet yesterday, is likely to be table in the Rajya Sabha next week.

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