With the BJP-led NDA regime leaving no stone unturned in ensuring the passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill in the upcoming Monsoon Session, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar today met opposition leaders Gulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma in the Parliament premises to discuss the same.
Earlier in the day, Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu asserted that the Centre is keen to have a fruitful and meaningful discussion in the upcoming Monsoon Session and expressed hope that the GST Bill would be passed this time in the larger interest of the country.
Naidu said the GST Bill will be an important initiative in the all-party meeting called by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar on Sunday to discuss all issues ahead of the Monsoon Session.
"We also have Medical Council of India ordinance, Dental Council of India ordinance, both of them have to be approved," Naidu said, adding there are important legislations before the Parliament.
Stating that the government is keen to have a fruitful and meaningful Parliament session, Naidu said he is hopeful that the important legislations pending for long will be approved in this session.
"The Parliamentary Affairs Minister is consulting all other ministers and we'll be able to know by Sunday what are the important bills," he added.
Naidu further said that he had a telephonic conversation yesterday with opposition leaders Gulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma, adding the duo appeared to be positive about the GST Bill.
"They said they will discuss in their party forums. I may recall, earlier Shri Narendra Modi ji, honorable Prime Minister, had called even Sonia ji and Manmohan Singh ji for discussion on GST. They raised some three issues and those issues are mostly addressed by the Finance Minister," Naidu stated.
The Urban Development Minister said the Finance Minister also had a number of rounds of discussions with the Chief Ministers of various states, adding most of them are on board with regard to the GST.
"And I also in between as the Parliamentary Affairs Minster have talked to all the parties earlier and most of them are positive. When you are going for a major reform, there will be some problem or the other but these problems can be addressed during the course of time. And I only appeal to all the political parties to see in the larger interest of the country that the GST Bill is passed," he added.
The proposed tax reform, India's biggest revenue shake-up since independence, seeks to replace a slew of federal and state levies, transforming the nation into a Customs Union.
The Congress Party, the original author of the tax reform, has said that it would back the GST if the government agreed to cap the tax rate at 18% and create an independent mechanism to resolve disputes on revenue sharing between the states.