Cong, govt likely to meet half­way for GST pas­sage

Both sides make op­ti­mistic com­ments on con­tentious bill

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NEWS - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NEW DELHI: A day af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and Congress pres­i­dent So­nia Gandhi held their first-ever meet­ing to end the log­jam over the GST bill, the prin­ci­pal Op­po­si­tion party in­di­cated its key de­mands are not cast in stone and it is ready to meet the gov­ern­ment half­way on the stick­ing points of the leg­is­la­tion.

The gov­ern­ment, sources said, might bring down the GST rate from the pro­posed 27%. The Congress, which had de­manded the rate to be capped at 18%, is likely to con­sider the gov­ern­ment’s ar­gu­ment against keep­ing any cap on tax rates in the Con­sti­tu­tion amend­ment bill.

The Congress wants the gov­ern­ment to make an al­ter­na­tive ar­range­ment, if the lat­ter is averse to keep­ing the cap as an in­te­gral part of the bill. The gov­ern­ment might con­cede ground on the com­po­si­tion of the pro­posed GST coun­cil, sources added.

Asked if there was any meet­ing ground be­tween the gov­ern­ment and the Congress on the GST, party leader Anand Sharma said, “We are not say­ing it’s non-ne­go­tiable. Our de­mand is not at all par­ti­san pol­i­tics. Let’s try to take it for­ward. We will meet again and we will see what the gov­ern­ment comes back to us with.”

Congress vice-pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi met the party’s Lok Sabha leader Mal­likar­jun Kharge on Satur­day over the GST bill. Gandhi will meet more se­nior lead­ers on Sun­day be­fore the Congress for­mally re­sponds to the gov­ern­ment’s pro­pos­als on the GST.

CON­TIN­UED ON P14

RE­LATED RE­PORT, P13

Our de­mand is not at all par­ti­san pol­i­tics. Let’s try to take it for­ward. We will meet again and we will see what the govt comes back to us with. ANAND SHARMA, Congress leader

PTI PHOTO

PM Naren­dra Modi poses for a selfie at the Di­wali Milan event or­gan­ised for the me­dia, in New Delhi, on Satur­day.

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