GST Bill might be passed in April: FM

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said he was hopeful that the much-delayed Constitution amendment Bill on goods and services tax (GST) would be passed in the second half of Parliament’s Budget session, in April.

He also expressed hope for the bankruptcy and insolvency Bill.

In the first half of the Budget session, the key Aadhaar and Real Estate Regulation Bills were passed.

Jaitley said the GST and bankruptcy Bills would give a major push to India’s reform process, in an otherwise weak global economic weather.

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“The current session of Parliament has already seen a landmark legislation passed two days ago. And I do hope to see another two being passed in the second part of the session,” he said at the end of the three-day Advancing Asia Conference, co-hosted by India and the International Monetary Fund.

The GST and bankruptcy Bills are among key reforms for India, the progress of which is being keenly watched by the global investors.

The constitution amendment for GST Bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha and is pending ratification by the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling National Democratic Alliance does not have a majority. After it is approved by the Rajya Sabha, the legislation needs to be ratified by at least half the 29 states.

The second half of the Budget session will begin on April 20.

Once the bankruptcy and insolvency Bills is approved, Jaitley said, “It will give a major fillip or push to our reform process.”

Exhibiting determination to move on the reform path, India can provide a significant growth to the world, he said.

The GST Bill is proposed to usher in a unified indirect tax regime, which will subsume various taxes like excise, service tax, value added tax, sales tax, and octroi, at both the state and the Centre levels.

“We are trying to have special emphasis now, both in terms of legislative changes and resources being put to strengthen the banking system. I do feel the next few months are going to be extremely important in bringing about structural change,” the minister said. Stating India has its own share of problems, Jaitley said there was increased determination in the country to face the challenges and accelerate the pace of reforms, so as to continue to grow.

“Our growth model is based on concerns to eradicate poverty,” he said.

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GST Bill might be passed in April: FM

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