Jaitley Says India to Push Pending Legislation in Parliament

  • Attempt to delay GST for `collateral reasons': Jaitley
  • Gandhis to appear in court Saturday in defunct newspaper case

India’s government will make a last-ditch effort to convince the opposition to approve legislation on a national sales tax before the current parliamentary session ends, according to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

With three days of the winter session remaining, the government will also seek to pass new laws on bankruptcies and arbitration, Jaitley said Saturday at an event in New Delhi.

Jaitley said the opposition’s attempt to delay implementation of the proposed goods-and-services tax beyond the target date of April 2016 is “entirely for collateral reasons.” Still, the government won’t water down its proposals just to get the law passed, he said.

“A delayed GST is better than a flawed GST,” Jaitley said.

A government official this week ruled out a last-minute agreement with the opposition to amend the GST, saying parliament will pass the bill in the next session. Following passage of the bill, which amends the constitution to enable the introduction of the new tax, it then needs to be ratified by at least 15 of India’s 29 states.

“Is Indian politics going to be a support in this adverse global situation to add this extra percent or two to our current level of GDP, or is it going to be an obstacle?” Jaitley said on Saturday. “That is really the challenge.”

The month-long parliamentary session has been marred by protests from the opposition Indian National Congress party about what it terms a “vendetta” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against its leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. The Gandhis are due to appear in court Saturday on allegations they acquired 20 billion rupees ($301 million) of real-estate assets from a defunct newspaper at less than the proper value.

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