Appealing to the Opposition for cooperation on the eve of the winter session of Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday made a strong pitch for early passage of the Goods and Services Tax bill, saying it will be in the interest of the nation.
Modi, who made a brief appearance at the all-party meeting hosted by Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, assured the Opposition leaders that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will talk to them to address their concerns, if any, on the key reform measure.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the all party meeting that Goods and Services Tax (GST) legislation is in the interest of nation and the finance minister will speak to parties concerned to address their doubts on it,” Naidu said after the meeting.
Modi also said Parliament should run meaningfully with the cooperation of all so as to fulfil the expectations of the people.
Significantly, the Janata Dal-United also backed the GST with party president Sharad Yadav announcing support of his party to the measure after the all-party meeting.
Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Sitaram Yechury, however, said that the Centre should hold talks with states on the issue of GST in view of the fact that they will lose all legislative power on tax matters once GST comes into force.
He regretted that such talks have not been held despite repeated pleas for the same by the Left parties.
The prime minister also said that Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, who has held talks with leaders of various parties, may talk to them further on the issue of India’s stand on the resolution on the climate change issue and any one can given suggestions for two more days.
Amid indications of a tough session ahead, senior ministers had on Tuesday huddled to chalk out the strategy and work out floor coordination plans while parties like Congress, JD-U and CPI-M made their intent clear, deciding to give notices for debate on the issue of intolerance and attacking the government on the key reform measure of GST.
National Democratic Alliance ministers had discussed legislative proposals to be brought before consideration of both the Houses of Parliament, which include three Bills relating to replacement of Ordinances, GST Bill, Real Estate Regulation Bill etc.
The ministers also discussed recent incidents like Dadri killing, rationalist M M Kalburgi’s killing and some other ones based on which a campaign alleging rising intolerance is on.