Congress spokesperson Jairam Ramesh has alleged that the NDA government was side-stepping the GST Bill due to, “opposition from a section of BJP and traders” and demanded that the Centre “seriously engage the Opposition” on the issues Congress had raised about the proposed reform bill.
Pointing out that the GST bill was not listed for business in the first phase of the budget session of Parliament, Ramesh said, “the Centre is not bring up the GST bill due to opposition from a section of the BJP and traders. That is the real reason. And the Centre is trying to divert the attention from this internal opposition to the GST bill by wrongly blaming the Congress for its failure to get the bill passed.”
Ramesh said since two of the three Congress conditions — scrapping the 1% inter-state tax and framing a dispute settlement mechanism within the GST Council — has been more or less agreed by the government, the latter should address the pending issue as well. “We are demanding that a cap on the GST rate be fixed on the Constitution Bill. The government says, it may not be possible to bring the provision on the cap in the Constitution Bill itself. We demand, the government should seriously engage the Opposition (on the pending issue on GS Bill),” Ramesh said.
This is the second consecutive day the Congress blamed the Centre for delay in getting the GST bill passed and is seen as a way of the party countering the Centre for blaming it for the political deadlock of the issue.
Ramesh also lashed out at the Centre for categorising the Aadhaar bill as a money bill, which he said was wrong and alleged that sole motive of the Centre was to circumvent the Opposition-dominated Rajya Sabha.
He said that the Congress will continue to protest against the move and will activate a debate on the correctness of categorising the legislation as a money bill.
Like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ramesh too indicated that the party would not explore a direct legal challenge to the Speaker certifying the legislation as money bill, given the chair’s right to be the final arbitrator on the matter.
“That chapter (in Parliament) is closed, but the debate and our protest will continue,” he said. However, there is speculation whether a PIL will be filed by a non-political quarter on the issue of categorisng the Aadhar as money bill.