Venkaiah Naidu
Venkaiah slams Pakistan for J&K violence, hints at action against Islamic preacher Zakir Naik. In picture: Union Minister of Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs M Venkaiah Naidu.IANS

The Narendra Modi government has agreed to accept the demands raised by the Congress to pass key tax reform Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu has said.

Naidu also said the government is ready to start the upcoming Parliament session earlier than scheduled to pass the bill in the Rajya Sabha if the Congress is willing to support it, Reuters reported.

The minister on Thursday met Congress president Sonia Gandhi to discuss and seek support for the passage of key reforms in the upcoming budget session of Parliament.

"Sonia said they (Congress) will discuss among themselves and take a final decision," Naidu said.

 The government was forced to delay the passage of the GST Bill "indefinitely" last month, after it failed to get support from Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling NDA does not have majority. The government had also postponed the deadline for GST rollout to 1 June from 1 April, 2016.

Some analysts warn that further delay in the passage of key bills could lead to fund outflows from the country.

"If the Congress or any other national or regional party has some specific concern, the government should look into them and address it as far as possible. There can always be a middle ground," new Assocham President Sunil Kanoria had said.

Appealing for early passage of the GST Bill, Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra had said last month that failing to implement the bill would divide the country and thwart it from becoming a common market.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also met his predecessor Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi in early December to garner the Opposition's support for the passage of the GST Bill. But his efforts were futile as the Winter session of Parliament got washed out following a controversy in the National Herald case in which Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi faced allegations of illegal acquisition of property worth Rs 5,000 crore.

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