Government may reconvene Parliament to get GST bill passed

The government is making a fresh attempt to get the Goods and Services Tax Bill passed by reconvening the Monsoon Session of Parliament, although there is no certainty that the bill will glide through.

The bill has been stuck in a political logjam in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling NDA does not have a majority. The ruling BJP-led alliance is now trying for a  consensus over the GST Bill while leaving the other issues for the regular session that would follow.

But, with the opposition Congress party still unwilling to relent, it is unlikely that the Goods and Services Tax Bill will get passed in the near future.

In fact, the government on Tuesday reached out to the Congress, which remained non-committal on its support saying it would first read the fine print.

Parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the government was trying to build a consensus to call an extended monsoon session to take up the GST Bill, as passage of the bill was more important given the current global economic situation.

"The tax reform is crucial for the economy and we are making every effort to build consensus," Naidu told reporters on Tuesday.

"We are meeting all political parties and trying to create an agreement over an extended monsoon session," Naidu said, adding, "I hope a consensus will be reached."

The minister also made an appeal to all political parties to "act in national interest".

Passage of the GST Bill, which is key to Narendra Modi's reform plans, suffered a major setback earlier this month in the Rajya Sabha, where opposition Congress is in a majority, which refused to support the Goods and Service Tax bill.

The Congress, however, remained non-committal on its support saying it would first read the fine print.

"They (government) want to call a special session and they are consulting all parties it seems. Unless we see what are the amended clauses or what is the agreement between the proposal of the standing committee and government, unless we see the final bill, we cannot comment on that," Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said.