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Govt set to settle with Congress to pass GST bill in RS, orders full attendance

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It seems like the fate of long-pending Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill is going to decide soon as the government is likely to come up with fresh proposals over pending Congress demands on the passage to get the opposition party’s support in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Government sources said that while a prime Congress demand to drop the proposed one per cent additional tax on interstate sale had been met last week as the Union Cabinet decided to amend the bill, the government is willing to walk some distance on its other two demands — a cap of 18 per cent on the GST rate and an independent dispute redress mechanism.

The government lacks majority in the Rajya Sabha, where the Congress is the single-largest party.

The sources said the dispute redress mechanism will be structured in a way that the states will have a greater say in the matter and also added  that the GST rate will also be based on a principle that is fair to both the states and the consumers.

The mechanism to compensate states for the loss of revenue for five years has already been incorporated in the amended bill.

However on Monday, The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has issued a whip to all its Rajya Sabha members to be present in the house for the next three days to get the GST Bill passed.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told media that “The GST Bill is listed for Wednesday. We hope it will be passed through consensus.”

“The mood is in favour of passing the bill,” he said, adding that parleys are being held with different political parties as the bill concerns all the states.

The government had initially planned to take up the Goods and Services Tax Bill on Tuesday but opted to delay it by a day apparently because of Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s scheduled programme in Varanasi on Tuesday, which is likely to be attended by many party leaders as well Rajya Sabha members.

Read More: Sonia Gandhi to lead mega roadshow in Modi’s constituency Varanasi today

The Congress said on Monday that it was prepared to accept every reasonable solution on the GST Bill but added that the consultations are still on.

“We are prepared to accept every reasonable solution which does not adversely affect business and industry, and does not adversely affect the federal structure and the consumer at large,” Congress spokesman P.L. Punia told reporters.

Noting that the GST is very important for the economy, industry, business and also for the consumers, he said: “We agree with that objective in mind. It is the Congress party which mooted the idea of GST, which was opposed by the BJP and especially the present Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.”

“We had raised certain valid issues and the negotiations are still on.”

The GST Bill, first mooted by the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, envisions a pan-India GST to thoroughly overhaul India’s indirect tax regime. It has been already passed by the Lok Sabha.

The states will draft their own State GST (SGST) bills based on the draft model law with minor variations, incorporating state-specific exemptions.

The Centre and the states will also have to approve the integrated GST law or iGST, which will deal with inter-state movement of goods.

The constitution amendment bill needs to be ratified by more than half of the states.

Wefornews Bureau

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No need of JPC on Rafale after apex court verdict: Akhilesh

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Lucknow, Dec 15 : Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday said that his party has given up its demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the Rafale deal after Supreme Court verdict in the matter.

Yadav said at an event here that SP had demanded JPC when the apex court had not given its judgement.

“But now the Supreme Court verdict has come and it has looked at all aspects. If someone has to say something in the future, then the doors of Supreme Court are open,” he said.

“There is no bigger court than the Supreme Court and there is nothing bigger on which people have faith,” he added.

The stance of Samajwadi Party is at variance with Congress which is persisting with its demand for JPC into the Rafale jet deal with a French company.

Yadav’s remarks have come at a time when efforts are being made to bring opposition parties together against the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The SP has offered support of its lone MLA to Congress in Madhya Pradesh after the Assembly elections.

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Rahul Gandhi hints at resolving Chhattisgarh CM tussle

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New Delhi, Dec 15: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday hinted at the end of tussle for the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, tweeting a picture of himself flanked by all the four claimants to the post.

Posting pictures of the four contenders in the race for the CM post– Bhupesh Baghel, T.S. Singh Deo, Tamradhwaj Sahu and Charan Das Mahant — Gandhi quoted American internet entrepreneur Reid Hoffman saying: “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.”

The party is likely to announce the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister tomorrow.

Baghel, the state party chief, is said to be the frontrunner in the race.

Gandhi’s tweet follows his hectic parleys with Chhattisgarh leaders, along with UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge, party’s observer for Chhattisgarh, and P.L. Punia, who is in-charge in the state.

The Congress President had earlier tweeted similar pictures of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister-designate Kamal Nath and his rival claimant to the post Jyotiraditya Scindia as well as Rajasthan Chief Minister-designate Ashok Gehlot and his state party chief Sachin Pilot who has been named as the Deputy Chief Minister.

Before the announcements of Kamal Nath and Gehlot as the respective Chief Ministers, there had been power jockeying between the rival camps, with both Scindia and Pilot strongly advocating their stake to the post.

IANS

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Government is responsible for giving wrong facts to Supreme Court: Kapil Sibal

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New Delhi, Dec 15: Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Saturday targetted the Narendra Modi for giving wrong facts to the Supreme Court on the Rafale deal. 

“Government is responsible for giving wrong facts to the Supreme Court, he said while addressing a press conference in the national capital.

“The Supreme Court is not an appropriate forum because it cannot summon and examine file notings, witnesses on oath, including questioning the Prime Minister, and we need to question the Prime Minister”.

Continuing his attack, the former union minister said: “When Supreme Court is not examining technicality, pricing of the Rafale deal, how is government claiming victory?”

“When I read the Supreme Court judgement, in almost every para there was a reference to press reports”, he added.

The Congress leader further said that there is a need to ask the Attorney General to the PAC and get the issues clarified as to why an affidavit was submitted which did not reflect facts.

He described the Rafale deal as a highly sensitive issue and stated: “It will be discussed in the Parliament too”.

Sibal persisted his demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the matter.

“The BJP govt can oppose all they want, but JPC will be formed to investigate Rafale scam”, he stated.

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed all the pleas seeking court-monitored probe into the purchase of Rafale jet fighters holding that the decision-making process was not in doubt.

The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it cannot go into the question of pricing and choice of offset Indian partner by the French aircraft manufacturer Dassault.

WeForNews 

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