Parliament logjam ends but no consensus on GST
Other | Photo Credit: Reuters

The logjam in Rajya Sabha was broken on Friday with Opposition agreeing for passage of some bills and allowing its normal functioning in remaining three days of Winter session after an all-party meeting convened by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari but a consensus eluded GST.

After the hour-long deliberations, Ansari said the meeting was "good".

Members from different parties decided to pass the SC ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, the Appropriation Bills, the Anti Hijacking Bill, the Atomic Energy Amendment Bill, the Commercial Courts Ordinance Bill and the Arbitration and Conciliation Amendment Bill by December 23 when the current session comes to an end, sources said.

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said, "nothing new was discussed at this meeting apart from what was discussed earlier at the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting." 

When asked whether Congress has agreed to passage of some bills, he said that some of the bills on which his party has committed support like the SC/ST bill will be passed alongwith Appropriation Bill.

"There was no discussion on GST. The discussion was on some bills on which there is a general consensus. Everybody is aware that there is no consensus on GST. Not only Congress has some reservations but other parties also ," Azad said when asked whether any decision on GST was taken in the meeting.

The GST bill, which has already been passed by the Lok Sabha, must be passed by the Rajya Sabha by December 23 and then sent to the states for passage to enable the GST regime to be rolled out by April 1, 2016.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, however, said, "there has been a very meaningful discussion in the meeting. A number of parties have expressed concern over Parliament not functioning.

"All of them decided that the House should function. It has been decided to pass the pending government bills even by sitting late," he said.

Asked about the crucial GST bill, Naqvi said that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made an appeal to the opposition to pass the constitution bill as well in the conducive atmosphere that has emerged after the meeting.

"But, I don't think the main opposition party has an agreement on this," he said, adding that other opposition parties favour a passage of the bill.

Ever since the winter session started on November 26, proceedings in the Rajya Sabha have been disrupted over a variety of issues with Congress accusing the Modi government of "political vendetta" in the wake of the National Herald case. The Arunachal Pradesh imbroglio and Union Minister V K Singh's 'dog' remarks also triggered uproar in the House.

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