NEW DELHI: Facing Congress criticism that his meeting with Sonia Gandhi on GST issue was mere “optics”, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said that government is willing to accommodate the views of Congress party “to the extent feasible.”
“Any stalemate could only be resolved based on give and take. On GST, the government is willing to accommodate views of Congress party to the extent feasible. Congress should reciprocate to enable the much-awaited tax reform through introduction of GST.
“It was in this context that I met Congress President yesterday with a request to cooperate for early passage of GST Bill. It was very unfortunate that Congress described government’s outreach to Congress as only meant for optics,” Naidu said in a statement.
Naidu on Thursday drove to Gandhi’s residence at 10 Janpath to seek Congress cooperation in passage of GST and Real Estate Bills.
Noting that the introduction of Goods and Services Tax is a matter of serious and far-reaching reform initiative, Naidu said that it was first mooted by the NDA government and later the UPA government introduced GST Bill which is pending for several years.
“Several issues were raised by chief ministers of different states and over the years considerable progress has been made addressing the concerns of several states. There is now a broad consensus on GST due to efforts made by the Committee headed by Finance Ministers of different states and the Union Finance Ministry. In this backdrop, the NDA government has now stepped up efforts to take forward GST Bill pending in Rajya Sabha.
“Further to the meeting between the Prime Minister and the Congress President in November last year, several rounds of discussions have taken place between the government and Congress leaders. Issues raised by Congress party have been discussed threadbare and what is feasible has been communicated to the Congress’ interlocutors,” Naidu said.