Next parliament session can break tax deadlock: Jaitley

Mumbai, January 2

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today the upcoming budget session of parliament would be crucial for the passage of the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) that has been blocked in two successive sessions.

The GST reform is long overdue and should have come much earlier, Jaitley told an event in New Delhi according to the finance ministry’s Twitter feed.

The new indirect tax would create a single market and boost commerce in India’s $2 trillion economy. However, it has been languishing in parliament for want of political support.

The reform needs a two-thirds majority to amend the constitution and PM Narendra Modi’s nationalist coalition lacks the votes it needs in the upper house of parliament.

The opposition Congress party has been fighting a rearguard action against the GST. However, with seats in the upper house to be reallocated soon to reflect gains by Modi in state elections, the government hopes to break the deadlock.

“The next session is going to be extremely important. And halfway through the next session, the numbers of the upper house are also going to change,” news outlets quoted Jaitley as saying.

“So I am reasonably optimistic, as far as the next session is concerned, that we may be able to push it through,” he said.