Bill on GST referred to Select Committee

New Delhi, May 12 (PTI) A Constitution Amendment bill providing for roll out of long-pending GST was today referred to a Select Committee after opposition insisted on its legislative scrutiny of the proposed legislation in Rajya Sabha where the government faces the numbers crunch.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

The 21-member panel will give its report by the last day of the first week of the Monsoon session.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moved the motion for referring the Bill (The Constitution One Hundred and Twenty-second Amendment Bill, 2014 to the Select Committee.

The Committee constitutes of Bhupender Yadav, Chandan Mitra and Ajay Sancheti (of BJP), Madhusudan Mistry, Mani Shankar Aiyar and Bhalchandra Mungekar (of Congress), Naresh Agrawal (SP), K C Tyagi (JD-U), Derek O’Brien (Trinamool Congress), Satish Chandra Misra (BSP), A Navaneethakrishnan (AIADMK), K N Balagopal (CPI-M), Dilip Kumar Tirkey (BJD), C M Ramesh (TDP), Praful Patel (NCP), Kanimozhi (DMK), Anil Desai (Shiv Sena), Naresh Gujral (SAD), Mohammad Fayaz (PDP), D Raja (CPI), Rajeev Chandrasekhar (Independent).

The GST bill was approved by Lok Sabha on Wednesday last after a walkout by Congress.

Congress floor managers in the Rajya Sabha had made it clear to the government that it will not be possible for them to back the bill in the Upper House without referring it to a Select Committee.

While AIADMK was the only party to have declared its opposition to the economic reform measure, Congress was adamant that it should be sent to a Select Committee for examining the changes that were brought into it by the NDA dispensation.

The main Opposition party, which treats the original GST bill as its “own baby”, had assured Government that it will support the bill for passage in the next session.

While the government was keen that GST is approved as early as possible, it wanted to do it with the widest-possible consensus without appearing confrontatationist.

Being a Constitution amendment bill, it requires to be passed by both Houses of Parliament by a two-third majority.

Once passed by Parliament, the Bill will then need ratification of more than half of 29 states before scheduled roll out in April next year.

GST was first mooted 12 years ago but couldn’t be approved as states feared curbs on their fiscal powers.

The NDA government, which is woefully short of numbers in the Upper House, did not want to take any risk.