New Delhi, Aug 3 As the Rajya Sabha passed the Constitution Amendment Bill for GST rollout, Congress today hoped that subsequent legislations for its implementation like CGST and IGST bills would be brought in the Winter Session as financial and not money bills.
Former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said he was only half satisfied with the Finance Minister's promise made in the Upper House in this regard.
"It's a half promise. Therefore, I am half satisfied," he told reporters after the passage of the Constitution Amendment Bill. Chidambaram said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has assured that he will hold discussions with the Congress party before bringing the bills.
Senior Congress leader and former Law Minister Kapil Sibal cited the example of Aadhaar Bill to claim the new legislations could be converted into Money Bills to block voting. "We have seen the Aadhar Bill was converted into a money bill and we were not given the right to vote on it. We have doubt that this GST bill will also be turned into a money bill whereby a discussion on it will take place in Rajya Sabha but members will not be allowed to vote on it. We are concerned over it," he said. "We hope that it will be a financial bill and there will be a discussion on it and we will be given the right to vote on it," he said.
Another Congress member Renuka Chowdhury said, "They have considered many of our aspects. Have to wait and see what happens in the winter session."
NCP leader Praful Patel said it is very good that the Constitution amendment bill to bring GST was passed with general consensus. "It is good for the country and states will also benefit, especially those which considered themselves as backward as they will get more revenue. We hope that the Bill to be brought by government in November will also be passed with general consensus. Finance Minister has given an assurance that whatever bill will be brought, it will be honoured," he said.
Earlier in the day, Congress had made it clear to the government that firm assurances for keeping the GST rate capped at 18 per cent and bringing subsequent legislations needed for its rollout as financial bills alone could ensure its support to the long-pending Constitution Amendment bill.
"We also demanded an assurance that the CGST and IGST should not be moved as money bill. The Central GST and Integrated GST are bills which will apply on taxpayers, on common man. They must be debated and voted upon by both Houses of Parliament. We hope to get assurance from the Finance Minister. If these assurances are forthcoming, we will be able to support," Chidambaram told reporters.