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GST bill cannot be passed without Congress support: Jairam

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With the government contemplating a special session of parliament over the GST Bill, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Wednesday said it cannot be passed without his party’s support and sought four amendments.

Talking to reporters here, Ramesh said four amendments demanded by his party were “pro-consumer”.

He said the party was in favour of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “single-handedly” held it back when he was the chief minister of Gujarat during the rule of United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre.

“Nobody stalled GST other than Modi,” Ramesh said.

He said the Congress wanted a cap on the GST rate at 18 percent, deletion of the provision which allows imposition of one percent tax by additional levy, an independent dispute resolution mechanism and compensation to panchayat and urban bodies for loss of revenue along with that to the states.

The GST Bill is pending in the Rajya Sabha where the government lacks majority and the Congress is the single-largest party.

“This bill cannot come through in this form or amended form without support of the Congress,” Ramesh said.

The government has been contemplating a special two-day session of parliament in the second week to September mainly to pass the bill.

The bill could not be taken up in the monsoon session of parliament due to stalemate over the Congress demands for resignation of three Bharatiya Janata Party leaders.

The Congress had pressed for resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje over their alleged help to former IPL chief Lalit Modi, who is facing Enforcement Directorate probe.

The party has also pressed for resignation of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over the Vyapam scam.