PM hopes Parliament runs with ‘GST spirit’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday had expressed hope that the GST spirit will prevail in the Monsoon session of parliament as the government sought cooperation for smooth conduct of legislative business even as the opposition was ready with ammunition to bombard the Centre for failure on national security, lynch brigade being given free run and unrest related to the rollout of the new tax regime. “GST spirit is about growing stronger together. I hope the same GST spirit prevails in the session,” said PM Modi on the opening day of monsoon session. The Prime Minister even walked up to the opposition benches and greeted Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other leaders including Rahul Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Sinha. He was also seen talking with Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav. The session is short as it will have only 19 sittings in which the government will look to push through 18 bills that are pending. Nine of these bills have already been cleared by Lok Sabha. At least 16 new builds are also lined up for introduction. But the Rajya Sabha has to clear some of the key bills that have been pending. These include anti-graft legislations — the Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2013 — as well as the legislation on stiff penalties for traffic violations — the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2016. Key legislations pending in the Lok Sabha are the Right of Children Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill 2017 and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Amendment) Bill 2017. On the first day of monsoon session both houses were adjourned after obituary references of sitting members and former members. The opposition, however, was preparing to attack the government on the fallout of the faulty roll out of GST and the hardships being faced by small traders. The parties will also seek discussion on the negative impact of demonetisation on economy. National security is another issue, the opposition is agitated about as violence continues in Jammu and Kashmir and both Pakistan and China pose grave threats on the eastern and northern borders. The government had sensitised the opposition on the border standoff with China near Sikkim. But the opposition wants to raise the issue in Parliament and demand answers from the government. The opposition, however, had assured the government full support in dealing with China and resolve the deadlock in best possible manner without losing the strategic edge.