Sources in the Finance Ministry said the constitutional amendment bill for introduction of GST will be placed towards the end of the session. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has asked ministry officials to prepare the final draft by August 20. The monsoon session of the Parliament will end on August 24. He also told the opposition parties that the government would like to pass the proposed GST Bill by December.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal today said both bills will be sent to the Standing Committee on Finance. However, the bills are unlikely to be passed during the monsoon session.
The UPA government has also planned to introduce the Companies (Amendment) bill during the upcoming session. The bill aims to allow chartered accountants, company secretaries and similar professionals to come together and form partnership firms. Bansal said the National Identification Authority of India Bill will also be introduced.
The government has planned to table nine new bills. It plans to pass 24 bills that is already tabled in the parliament and bring 26 new bills to the table.
After struggling to evolve a consensus with the states over the introduction of the GST for the last four years, the Finance Minister held a meeting with his counterparts in the state governments last Wednesday and unveiled a three-rate formula. While he suggested that the rate of taxation for services be fixed at 8 per cent, a dual-rate regime for goods was proposed. The Centre plans to keep a lower rate of 6 per cent for certain goods and maintain a standard rate of 10 per cent in the first year.
The government had initially set a deadline of April 2010 for the introduction of the GST. But later, it settled for April 2011 to start the new tax regime. Similarly, Mukherjee also treaded cautiously on the DTC issue and missed a few deadlines as the Finance Ministry wanted to redraft the DTC. The work on DTC had started during P Chidambaram’s tenure in the ministry.
The government has also enlisted the politically-sensitive Women Reservation Bill and the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill during the monsoon session. The Women’s bill had been passed in the Rajya Sabha during the Budget session. However, the government stopped short from introducing it in the Parliament following an opposition to the proposed bill.
While the BJP and the Left will be supporting the Women’s Reservation Bill, they are expected to oppose the civil nuclear liability bill along with some other parties. The UPA also doesn’t have majority in the Rajya Sabha to pass the civil nuclear liability bill and will have to depend on its maneuvering abilities to bring some parties on board.
The UPA government, however, has not listed its ambitious Food Security Bill at the initial list of government business. Bansal told reporters that as the bill is yet to be ready it has not been mentioned in the initial list.
Ordinance to also get nod
The ordinance promulgated by the President of India amending the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, Insurance Act, 1938, Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 and Securities Contract Regulations Act 1956, will get Parliament’s sanction in the monsoon session. The ordinance seeks to clarify that Life Insurance business includes unit-linked insurance policy (Ulip) or scripts or any such instruments.
If the Securities and Insurance Laws (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2010 is not ratified by the two houses of Parliament within six months, the ordinance will lapse.
Other diginatories which are attending the meeting include heads of the PSUs and state energy secretaries
Punjab, which is a well-irrigated state, has witnessed 60% deficient rains while Haryana saw 57% lesser rains during the kharif sowing season