NEW DELHI: In yet another attempt to clear the most ambitious indirect tax reform Bill (Goods and Services Tax) in Parliament, the government on Thursday hinted that it is again ready to walk the talk with the Opposition on the issue.
Speaking at the Growth Net conference here, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Congress party’s suggestion to impose a “constitutional cap” on GST rate is a little difficult to accept and the government will discuss it with the Opposition to arrive at a consensus.
“(The opposition to GST) is now coming down really to one issue. The only opponent to GST is the Congress party, curiously the party which had sponsored the law in first instance, has some belated wisdom that you must have a constitutional cap. Now that seems a little difficult,” Jaitley said, adding the government will discuss with the Congress on its demand for capping the GST rate at 18% in the Bill itself.
“I am all for the idea of having a reasonable rate as far as GST is concerned which the GST Council will decide. But I hope with some consensus on that reasonable rate between two national parties, we are able to arrive at a more consensual approach,” he said.
The Congress party has suggested that the government should specify the GST rate in the draft constitutional amendment and not leave it outside the legislation. On the issue of roll back of excise duty on jewellers, Jaitley said if luxury items are kept out of the tax net, then the GST rate will move up from the expected level of 18%.