Manmohan Singh steps in, gets Congress to step back on GST

After the Rajya Sabha passed four GST bills on Thursday April 6, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley walked to former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and shook his hands.

Surprisingly, Congress did not move any amendments. Citing advice by the former prime minister, Jairam Ramesh withdrew his amendments that required decisions of the GST Council to be brought before Parliament.

Nearly everyone stood up to support GST, and all the following four bills being passed without any new amendments:

  • The Central GST bill
  • The Integrated GST bill
  • The  GST (compensation to state) bill and
  • The Union Territory GST bill.

Jairam Ramesh later said that he made the point only to emphasise “the difference between the former PM who is a statesman and the present PM who is a politician”.  When the bills were finally returned to Lok Sabha – everyone walked towards Arun Jaitley and congratulated him. While the opposition parties and Congress MPs Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and others looked on, Manmohan Singh shook hands with Arun Jaitley and congratulated him.

Earlier; when the chair called up the name of the former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, he declined to speak. The amendments moved by Trinamool got just 11 ayes and the Left’s got 9. The highest number of amendments were proposed by Subirami Reddy but he was absent.

The Finance Minister said that the GST council is India’s first federal institution and we avoided voting to reach decisions through a process of deliberative democracy. The powers are with the parliament and the state legislatures and the credit goes to all the successive governments, MPs and all political parties.