Rahul Gandhi meets Sitaram Yechury, seeks support for amendments to GST Bill; BJP says ‘attempt to sabotage’ legislation: 10 facts

Mohammed Uzair Shaikh
The Left Front has expressed its apprehensions against the establishment of GST Council, which could surpass the Parliament before altering tax rates.

New Delhi, April 5: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi met Communist Party of India (Marxist) chief Sitaram Yechury on Wednesday, hours after Rajya Sabha debated four key legislations related to Goods and Services Tax (GST). Rahul reportedly sought CPI(M) support for the amendments brought to Bills by Congress in Rajya Sabha.

Rahul and Yechury interacted for over an hour, discussing a range of issues, including the grant of capped farm loan waivers by Uttar Pradesh government, the alleged rigging of EVMs in recently concluded assembly polls, along with the targeted implementation of GST on July 1.

The Left Front has expressed its apprehensions against the establishment of GST Council, which could surpass the Parliament before altering tax rates. 10 updates:

  1. The four Bills debated in Rajya Sabha today include: The Central Goods and Services Tax Bill (CGST), the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill (IGST) the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Bill and the Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill (UTGST).
  2. Since they have been passed by Lok Sabha as Money Bills, the Rajya Sabha could only suggest changes in the legislations. The amendments made to the Bill would be sent back to the Lower House.
  3. BJP raised strong apprehensions against Rahul’s meeting with Yechury. The party has termed the amendments raised by Congress as “an attempt to sabotage the Bill”.
  4. According to NDTV sources, BJP insiders have confirmed that the amendments made by Rajya Sabha would be rejected null and void by Lok Sabha within an hour after the legislation gets tabled.
  5. Earlier in the day, Opposition in one voice opposed to the powers granted to GST Council through the Bill. As per the draft tabled by Centre, GST Council would not need approval from Parliament to change the tax rate.
  6. Apart from the powers granted to GST Council, Congress has also objected to the 40 per cent tax slab ceiling, seeking a lower rate.
  7. Anand Sharma, leading the Congress charge in Rajya Sabha, questioned the preparedness of government for implementing GST. “Is the Government prepared to meet the target of July 1?” he stated in the House.
  8. Urging Centre to review the exemption of diesel, petrol, aviation turbine fuel, real estate and alcohol from GST gambit, Anand Sharma said, “How can you create an ideal GST if 40 per cent of revenue base is excluded?”
  9. Congress also sought to specify how GST would be implemented in north-eastern states and Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
  10. After BJP accused the Opposition of behaving in an irresponsible manner, TMC MP Derek O’Brien said, “When the party which obstructed GST for 5 years, gives lecture on being a responsible opposition, it is not digestible.”