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Why Modi Govt not calling Parliament's joint session to pass GST Bill?
Goods and Service Tax (GST) is a very significant step in the field of Indirect Tax Reforms in India. By amalgamating a large number of Central and State taxes into a single tax, it would also mitigate cascading or double taxation. GST Bill has already been passed by Lok Sabha. However, it can become a law only if it gets passed by both houses of the Parliament.

This is not happening because the Modi Government does not have a majority in Rajya Sabha, where Congress Party and other regional parties have a majority and these parties, for obvious reasons, do not want that any such law becomes a reality, which ultimately benefits the trade and industry as well as the common man. Foreign investors, willing to invest in India, are also hesitating due to the uncertainty over GST Bill, resulting in loss of investment and employment opportunities.

Opposition parties having a majority in Rajya Sabha are simply playing the politics of blackmail and therefore, there is no hope that GST Bill will be passed by Rajya Sabha, unless Modi Government shuts its eyes on the misdeeds of the opposition parties and gives them a guarantee that no action will be taken against them.

While, Modi Government is doing everything to bring these parties to negotiation table, by accepting and accommodating their views on the GST Bill, but this democratic approach of the Modi Government has failed to work so far. Former Primer Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, recently, has said very clearly that if the Modi Government wants our cooperation in Rajya Sabha, then it should stop attacking Rahul and Sonia Gandhi.

In his statement, Dr. Manmohan Singh left nothing for imagination, but Modi Government, which has come to the power at the Centre, with the mandate from the people that it will take appropriate action against the persons responsible for scams happening in the country during last 60 years, is probably not agreeing to their blackmail, and hence, is finding it almost impossible to make the GST a law.

This politics of blackmail, being played by the parties having majority in Rajya Sabha, is neither surprising nor unexpected. What is really surprising is the fact as to why Modi Government in not invoking Article 108 of the Constitution of India, 1949 by calling a Joint Session of Parliament and get not only the GST Bill, but all other important pending Bills, which are not being passed due to lack of majority in Rajya Sabha. In the joint session of the Parliament, a bill needs to be passed with a simple majority, to become a law, if it has already been passed by the Lok Sabha.

Present total strength of Lok Sabha is 543 and Rajya Sabha has the strength of 245. Total strength of both the houses, thus, is 788. Government needs just 395 votes out of 788 to pass any bill and make it a law by calling the joint session of the Parliament. NDA parties already have a comfortable 403 members (337 in Lok Sabha and 66 in Rajya Sabha) as against the required number of 395, in both houses of Parliament. This calculation looks very simple, do-able and practical, and perhaps the only way to make GST a reality.

Why Modi Government, which has several Chartered Accountants and Lawyers in its Council of Ministers, is shying away from calling a Joint Session of Parliament for passing the GST Bill, will always remain a mystery. What is stopping Finance Minister, who himself is a noted lawyer, in exploring this option, is also a big question.

The Government has already lost Delhi and Bihar Assembly elections, after winning from these states in Lok Sabha. People are finding it very strange and questioning as to why Government is not coming into "action" mode. The Government is neither acting against the persons and parties involved in the corruption and scams nor is acting tough against the anti-national persons and parties. It is now hoped that better sense will now prevail and the advisers of the Government, will help the Government to come into the "action" mode, before it becomes too late to explain this "inaction" to the people of the country.

Once the GST Bill is passed through the Joint Session route, the Government will also be relieved off the pressure of not acting against the persons and parties involved in large scale corruption, scams and anti-national activities.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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