Gold Silver Reports — All eyes are on whether the government finally brings the Goods and Services Tax Bill in the Rajya Sabha in the second week of the monsoon session starting from July 25, even as senior ministers, led by finance minister Arun Jaitley, are engaged in backchannel discussions with Congress and other parties.
At the end of the first week of the three-week monsoon session that began on July 18, the government has been able to draw satisfaction only from the fact that the Upper House has functioned normally, with some disruptions, and has taken up discussions and Bills.However, this has been due to the fact that the issues that came up for discussion were mooted by the Opposition and the government only agreed to play along.
Meeting of Empowered Group of FMs of states with Jaitley scheduled for tomorrow
Although five hours have been allocated for discussion and passage of the GST Bill in the Rajya Sabha, the proposed legislation is not listed in the week’s business. Efforts were on to get the Opposition on board, sources said.
“The government is engaged in talks with political parties to ensure passage of the GST Bill during the current monsoon session… Government would do the best possible to make this longpending legislation see the light of day during this session. I appeal to all parties to sense the mood of the nation and cooperate in this re gard,“ parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar said.
A meeting of the Empowered Group of Finance Ministers of states with Finance Minister Jaitley is scheduled to take place on July 26 on the GST Bill. The outcome of this meeting, which is likely to put pressure on the Opposition to agree to the Bill, and talks with Congress and AIADMK will determine when the Bill comes up in the Rajya Sabha.
The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2016, is likely to be passed this week after some opposition from the Congress. Government was planning to put it to vote even if the Congress protested, sources said. Since the state governments would suffer in case the Bill is not passed, BJP wants Congress to take the blame for stalling it. `42,000 Cr would be given to states under this fund. Only two noncontroversial Bills, namely the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Bill, 2012 and the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2016, have been passed in the Rajya Sabha. — Neal Bhai Reports