PM reaches out to Oppn on GST Bill

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 26 Nov 2015 11:39:36

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge addresses all-party meeting while Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and others look on, a day before Parliament’s winter session at Parliament House in New Delhi on Wednesday. (PTI)


Delhi Bureau and Agencies

PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday reached out to the Opposition to let Parliament function smoothly, even as the Congress said it had an open mind on the contentious GST Bill.
Modi’s appeal came at an all-party meeting, a day ahead of
the start of Parliament’s winter session on Thursday. The
ruling BJP-led NDA reiterated the appeal at an evening meeting of the ruling alliance.
The Prime Minister made it clear that the Government was keen to pass the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, saying it was in national interest.
Modi told the all-party meet that all political parties needed to work together to meet the expectations of the people.
“(There is a) need for all parties to work together to enable the Parliament to function to
the expectations of the people,” a spokesperson quoted him
as saying.
The Prime Minister made a similar appeal in the evening at a meeting attended by leaders of his Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies, and said the Government was ready to discuss all issues.
The Congress said it had an open mind on GST. “For us, each Bill or legislation is important. With regard to GST, we have made it clear the GST was our bill... We are ready for discussion. We have
genuine concerns and that should be taken on board,” party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told the media.
Azad said the Opposition also wanted to discuss intolerance, price rise, farmers’ plight, incidents of communal disharmony and drought, besides issues of women safety, corruption and child labour.
“The Opposition will be cooperating with the Government but it is for the Government to accommodate the viewpoints of the Opposition,” he said.
CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari had admitted a motion to discuss rising incidents of religious intolerance in the country.
Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav vowed to raise the issue of India-Nepal relations.
Seen as the key to facilitating industrial growth and improving the business climate, the GST Bill needs to be passed by two-thirds majority in both Houses of Parliament and by the legislatures of half the States to become law. It is now stuck in the Rajya Sabha.
While GST remains the priority for the Government, which wanted it implemented by April 2016, there are 38 Bills and ordinances the Government has listed for the winter session.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan also held an all-party meeting to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament.
Naidu informed that during the two-sitting special sitting beginning Thursday, Vice-President and Speaker will make opening remarks in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha respectively following which Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who is also the Deputy Leader of the House to initiate discussion in the Lower House while Finance Minister and Leader of the House would do so in Rajya Sabha.
Prime Minister will intervene towards the end of the discussion in both Houses, he said.
Issues for discussion suggested by different parties include: Drought and heavy rains in different parts of the country; agrarian distress, declining industrial production and exports, Centre-State relations including extending financial support to states, Nepal issue, Womens’ reservation, striking down of National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill etc.