Govt will not allow Parliamentary disturbance to obstruct reforms: Arun Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

New Delhi, Dec 20: A day after introducing the long-pending GST Bill in the Lok Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said the government is “extremely determined” to push insurance sector reforms and will not allow political obstructionism to stop it.

Addressing a FICCI function here, Jaitley said: “The government is extremely determined to go ahead with this (insurance sector) reform and will not allow a Parliamentary disturbance to obstruct or delay a reform of this kind.”

Jaitley regretted that although the insurance bill, which seeks to raise FDI cap from 26 per cent to 49 per cent, was approved by Standing Committee of Parliament and Select Committee of Rajya Sabha, “political obstructionism is being used to ensure it does not come on the agenda of Parliament.”

He, however, said that such attitude cannot stop a reform which has support of overwhelming majority, adding “there are enough safeguards, and constitutional system can deal with and effectively defeat this policy of political obstructions.”

With more and more state assemblies going to polls, the Finance Minister said, the ability of the members in the Rajya Sabha to create obstruction will get “further diluted.”

He said that coal bill is another important legislation which is being held up due to political obstructionism in the Rajya Sabha, adding “it is a bill which has been unanimously passed by the Lok Sabha. All doubts have been cleared. It was not allowed to come on the agenda of Upper House for discussion.”

The Finance Minister on Friday introduced the single biggest indirect taxation reforms since independence, the 122nd Constitution Amendment Bill for Goods and Services Tax (GST), after extensive discussions to get states on board by addressing their concerns.

Introducing the GST Bill in the Lok Sabha, Jaitley said: “It is expected that introduction of GST will foster a common and seamless Indian market and contribute significantly to the growth of the economy.”

He said that a single rate GST will replace central excise, state VAT, entertainment tax, octroi, entry tax, luxury tax and purchase tax on goods and services to ensure seamless transfer and end of “inspector raj” as well as “tax on tax.”

He further added: “It will be single most tax reform after 1947.”

Earlier, the GST Constitutional Amendment Bill, which had been introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2011, had lapsed. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government will now be required to come up with a fresh bill.

(With Agency Inputs)

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