As BJP, Congress Wage War On Agusta, Arun Jaitley Talks Of Peace On GST

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley speaks exclusively to NDTV from Frankfurt


Frankfurt: 

Highlights

  1. Can't have a teaser going on indefinitely session after session: Jaitley
  2. The Lok Sabha had last year passed the GST bill
  3. Government has missed a deadline of April 1 to implement GST
Even as the BJP and Congress do pitched political battle over the Agusta Westland scam, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says he will approach the Congress again to discuss the Goods and Services Tax Bill. At the earliest.

"The law (GST) has to be passed. You cannot have a teaser going on indefinitely session after session," the Finance Minister said in an exclusive interview to NDTV from Frankfurt.

The GST Bill, which seeks to give effect to the country's biggest tax reform, has fallen victim in session after Parliament session to political wrangling between the ruling BJP and main Opposition party the Congress over other issues.

The government has already missed a deadline of April 1 this year to implement the unified tax in the country as it has failed to get the bill passed in the Rajya Sabha, where it is in in a minority and needs the support of the Congress, the largest party in the house.

The Lok Sabha, where the government has a comfortable majority, had last year passed the GST bill, which seeks to amend the Constitution and so needs two-thirds of each house to vote in favour.

Getting Parliament's approval for the bill in the ongoing Budget session was a top priority for the government, but there are only six sittings left with the session ending next week. And the government is at the moment not on the best of terms with the Congress as it attacks its top leadership, including party president Sonia Gandhi, after an Italian court ruled that bribes were paid in India to clinch a deal for the supply of 12 helicopters by Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland.

The two parties engaged in a bitter war of words and accusations in a debate in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, and will clash again in the Lok Sabha tomorrow when the Agusta scam is discussed in the lower house.

But Mr Jaitley said there should not be a "feeling of helplessness" on the GST, pointing out that government has been able to push through "every legislation" in the past.

The areas of disagreement with the Congress over GST, the minister said, are very "narrow" and added that he was confident that "they will see reason."


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