The Congress party made it perfectly clear today that while it supports a single tax regime, it will only approve a later GST 'rate' bill if that's decided by both Houses of Parliament, and not just the Lok Sabha said a report in the Times of India. As well, the standard rate of GST should not exceed 18%, the Congress said today in the Rajya Sabha+ .
The BJP has a brute majority in the Lok Sabha, and the executive, that is, the Prime Minister+ , can easily hold sway over his MPs. That's why the Congress is insistent that the whole of Parliament decide the GST rate, so it's not set at "the whims of the executive", as the Congress's P. Chidambaram said in the Rajya Sabha earlier today.
In the Rajya Sabha, of 243 members, the Congress has 60 Parliamentarians, the largest from any party.
"'Cap the tax rate'. We mean it cannot be changed with whim of executive. Tax rate of this importance must only be changed with the approval of Parliament," Chidambaram reiterated.
The Congress is also painting itself as speaking for the common man as opposed to the BJP which it's painting as speaking for big business. Which is why, Chidambaram said, GST doesn't stand only for Goods & Services Tax, it also stands for 'Good Sense Triumphs'.
That good sense, as far as the Congress is concerned, means a lower indirect tax rate. "People of India expect low indirect taxes. There are many voices in the govt which speak for the corporate, but someone must speak for the people. The standard rate of GST should not exceed 18%," the former Congress finance minister said.
And all these are the reasons why the Congress wants the next bill - not the one expected to be passed today, Wednesday, but the next step, the GST rate bill - to be introduced as a finance bill and not a money bill. The Rajya Sabha cannot constitutionally reject a money bill.
"When the Bill is passed today, we will prepare for the next stage of the debate, which is the Central GST Bill. I want an assurance that when that bill is brought, that will be brought as a Financial Bill and not as a Money Bill," Chidambaram said.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:49 PM