The dates of the Union Budget have finally been announced. The Budget Session of Parliament is set to commence on February 23. While the first part of the session will be held from February 23 to March 16, the second will be from April 25 to May 13. Accordingly the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is likely to present the Budget on February 29, while the Rail Budget will be presented on February 25. The Economic Survey will be tabled on February 26.
The Budget Session schedule was finalised by the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The government is keen on passing the crucial GST Bill, which could not make it in the past two sessions, during the Budget session.
With the commencement of the Budget Session, the government intends to push its legislative agenda. On the other hand the Opposition is raring to target it on a host of issues to corner the government. These might include – suicide of dalit student Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad , Pathankot attack, flip-flop over talks with Pakistan, DDCA scam, President’s Rule in Arunachal Pradesh .
Moreover, as yet another parliament session looms , it is quite obvious that the tricky GST bill and its fate will be under spotlight again. So , expectedly Finance Minister Arun Jaitley now hopes that the opposition parties will “see reason” and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, which is held up in Rajya Sabha, will become a reality soon.
“It (GST) has been supported by most political parties and I am sure others will also see reason and this law will become a reality very soon,” the minister said while inaugurating the two-day India Investment Summit .
He said the government is also working on streamlining the direct taxation system. “We want to rationalise our direct tax system in order to make it one of the most competitive regimes in the world comparable with what competitive economies elsewhere have,” Jaitley added.
He further said reform is a continuous process and “there is no finishing line” for that as “it has to go on and on because challenges keep coming up”. GST, which will subsume all indirect taxes such as excise duty, service tax and sales tax into one uniform rate, is stalled in the Rajya Sabha as the Congress is pressing for three changes.
The Congress has stalled the passage of the constitutional amendment Bill, derailing the government’s plan to roll out GST from April 1, 2016. The three demands are a cap on the GST rate in the Constitution itself, removal of the proposed 1 per cent additional tax on inter-state movement of goods and setting up a judicial panel to adjudicate disputes among states.