Cong, govt likely to meet halfway for GST passage
Both sides make optimistic comments on contentious bill
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.
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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
PM Narendra Modi poses for a selfie at the Diwali Milan event organised for the media, in New Delhi, on Saturday.