gst bill parliament rajya sabha india govt modi discussion debate bills legislation new delhi congress bjp nda sp chidambaram jaitley cpm yechury yadav
A view of the Indian parliament building is seen in New Delhi December 1, 2010.Reuters file

7.49 p.m. Anand Sharma (Congress) says specifying the standard rate is important, since it can't be left to the whims and fancies of any government. "The subsequent Bills should be introduced as Finance Bills, and not Money Bills, so that the legislations are properly debated," Sharma says. "Petroleum can't be kept out of the purview of GST Bill; so is the case with alcohol."

7.43 p.m. Anand Sharma (Congress) takes on BJP, especially PM Narendra Modi, for his earlier negative stance on the GST Bill. "Without mentioning the tax rate, no tax can be raised, no tax can be collected. The issues that we were raising had merit, had logic." 

6.50 p.m. Naresh Gujaral (Shiromani Akali Dal) says the government should look at zero tax for food items.

6.30 p.m. Narendra Budania (Congress): PM Modi should apologise for having opposed the GST Bill earlier. Or at least, Arun Jaitley should do.

6.26 p.m. TKS Elangovan (DMK): Tamil Nadu should not suffer on account of implementation of GST Bill in terms of revenues. The state should be compensated for any loss of revenues "for not less than five years". Tobacco and tobacco products should also be included in the GST Bill. DMK supports the GST Bill.

6.22 p.m. M V Rajeev Gowda (Congress): We need a GST Service to administer the new laws. Is India ready? 

5.35 p.m. Surendra Singh Nagar, Samajwadi Party, speaks

5.04 p.m. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, independent member from Karnataka, speaks

4.47 p.m. Praful Patel of NCP says the Bill has largely been reduced to an issue between Congress and BJP with other parties been sidelined. The Bill needs to be taken to its logical conclusion. However, the transition to a GST regime for both the Centre and the States will be challenging. Services sector faces the risk of "big pressure" though manufacturing sector stands to benefit. The standard rate (revenue neutral rate) needs to be looked at, as has been mentioned by other parties also. He said his party supports the Bill.

4.45 p.m. C M Ramesh, TDP, says his party supports the Bill.

4.33 p.m. Satish Chandra Misra of BSP says his party supports the GST Bill.

4.11 p.m. Sitaram Yechury suggests Fair Revenue Rate instead of Revenue Neutral Rate.

4.07 p.m. Sitam Yechury says 62.3 percent of total tax collection from indirect taxes. The poor are getting more impoverished. A cap on GST rate is necessary.

4.00 p.m. Sitam Yechury (CPM) says P Chidambaram (Congress) when he speaks he is on the other side of the aisle (meaning Opposition)

3.53 p.m. Sharad Yadav (JD-U) says his party supports the Bill.

3.51 p.m. Some countries won and some lost after the GST Bill, so both BJP and Congress should not be equally cheerful, says Brien. He also cites the example of Virat Kohli who was in Class X when the GST Bill was first introduced.

3.45 p.m. Derek O'Brien says West Bengal has outstanding of Rs. 6,000 crore over CST (due from the Central government).

3.37 p.m. Derek O'Brien of Trinamool Congress (TMC) says it is Girgit Samjhauta Tax (GST). I feel like a teenager in the presence of such great lawyers (Arun Jaitley P Chidambaram). GST was reduced to Go Slow Tactics by Congress often.

3.34 p.m. Sensex closes 284 points lower at 27,697.

3.25 p.m. AIADMK member A Navaneethakrishnan says his party strongly opposes the Bill.

3.16 p.m. The BSE Sensex loses further, trading at 27,652, down 329 points.

3.09 p.m. "We are reluctantly supporting this Bill so that the perception doesn't go that our party is against economic reforms," says Naresh Agarwal, member, Samajwadi Party. He alleges the government's intentions "are not noble" and that's why it is not in favour of capping the standard (RNR) rate.

2.47 p.m. CGST Bill and IGST Bill must be introduced as Finance Bill, not money bill.

2.46 p.m. We will campaign across the country for capping the standard rate at 18 percent. We speak for the people of India, you (government) speak for corporates.

2.45 p.m. Standard rate should not exceed 18 percent.

2.41 p.m. PC: If the government doesn't care about inflation, go ahead and charge 24 or 26 percent. In that case, why GST at all? A high rate would lead to tax evasion. 

2.40 p.m. PC says many in the government speak for India Inc. (corporates).

2.38 p.m. PC says that standard rate (RNR) should be 18 percent. 

2.36 p.m. PC talks of GST rates in three slabs: RNR, RNR+ and RNR-. 

2.34 p.m. GST rate is 16.8 percent in high-income countries and 14.1 percent in emerging countries. India should strive for as low a rate as possible, since indirect tax is regressive in nature.

2.32 p.m. "Heart of the Bill is: what will be tax rate be?," says PC.

2.30 p.m. Chidambaram continues: Speaks of flaws in the government's earlier approach to dispute resolution via GST Council. Urge him to say that Amendment 7 to clause 12 can be strengthened. Wants to make wording of GST Council more broad-based. The clause is still "deficient".

2.22 p.m. Chidambaram continues: There are pieces of "clumsy" drafting in the Bill; 1 percent inter-state tax was "retrograde" in nature and had a cascading effect. Good that you have dropped it. GST means "Good Sense Triumphs".

2. 20 p.m. "The Congress was never opposed to the idea of GST", says Chidambaram. "We are not debating the idea..the country is now ready to embrace the idea of GST Bill. The 2014 Bill, and not the idea, was being opposed. There can be no such thing as a perfect Bill. But when we found too many flaws and thought they can be fixed, we decided against...but now we are glad there is considerable progress."

2.16 p.m. Jaitley commends the legislation; P Chidambaram (Congress) speaks; I welcome the conciliatory tone ofJaitley. It augurs well for the Bill. In a lighter vein, between 2011 and 2014, I was doing "chaar dham". We tried to pass the Bill with the support of the BJP and we failed. "You tried to pass without us, you also failed."

2.13 p.m. GST IT backbone is ready. The Bill will ensure better economic management of India, says Jaitley.

2.12 p.m. GST Council is loaded in favour of states.

2.10 p.m. Jaitley acknowledges the support of Ghulam Nabi Azad (Congress) and chief ministers of various states; talks of states wanting alcohol to be kept out. Petroleum products to be kept out for now.

2.08 p.m. Sensex volatile, down 197 points.

2.07 p.m. Bill would convert India into a uniform market.

2.06 p.m. Jaitley speaks of government seeking wider consensus on the Bill.

2.04 p.m. Jaitley outlines the journey of the GST Bill, suggestions by state finance ministers.

2.03 p.m. First introduced in House in 2006, says Jaitley.

2.01 p.m. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moves the Constitutional Amendment Bill for GST. Most significant reform in recen history, says Jaitley.

2.00 p.m. Proceedings resume in Rajya Sabha.

1.57 p.m. After the break, Rajya Sabha all set to take up the GST Bill for discussion.

1.50 p.m. The GST Bill, being in the nature of constitutional amendment, has to be passed by a two-thirds majority by the Rajya Sabha, where the BJP-led NDA government does not have a majority. Also,  for the GST Bill to become a law, it has to be approved by at least half the states (assemblies) after the Rajya Sabha passes it. The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha last year.

1.45 p.m. Sensex down 226 points to 27,755. Top index losers include ITC, Tata Motors, Power Grid Corporation and Maruti Suzuki, whose new automobile sales channel NEXA, recently completed one year of operations in India.

1.10 p.m. Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till 2 p.m.

12.36 p.m. KTS Tulsi (nominated member) raises the issue of drub menace in Punjab, cites NCRB data to say that 40 drug-related cases are registered every day in the state.

12.32 p.m. Chaudhary Birender Singh, steel minister, says he will look into the issues raised by members.

12.30 p.m. Question Hour getting extended over the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam controversy. Members dispute the figures being given by steel minister on the number of people displaced.

12.22 p.m. V Vijaisai Reddy (YSRCP) raises the issue of jobs for people displaced due to land acquisition in Andhra Pradesh for Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd's plant at Vishakapatnam. Another member, Dr T Subbarami Reddy (Congress) wants clarification and committment on jobs to about 16,000 people displaced.

It took us 16 yrs and 3 PM to get the GST bill on the floor. 10yrs of Congress govt & 6 yrs of BJP. Initiated by ABV and concluded by Modi.

— Vivek Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) August 3, 2016

12.15 p.m. Sharad Yadav (JD-U) raises the issue of phone-tapping.

11.57 a.m. Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena) raises forced conversion of Keralites who then joined Isis. He blamed Islamic Research Foundation for the conversion. Yavatmal and Parbhani arrests reveal that the Isis recruitment problem is now spreading to interiors of India.

11.55 a.m. Husain Dalwai (Congress) raises the issue of old bridge that has collapsed.

11. 50 a.m. Kanimozhi (DMK) raises the issue of bonded labour, their rehabilitation and inadequate measures. Rescued people are not getting help from governments. Migrant labourers are worst suffers. "Sumangali "Thittam" in Tamil Nadu is exploitative in nature. 

11. 48 a.m. Renuka Chowdhury (Congress) raises farm loans in Telangana, requests extend the date for "Fasal Bima Yojna" to enable farmers to purchase seeds. Insurance companies are sluggish in disbursals.

11.45 a.m. The Mumbai-Goa highway collapse takes precedence. Naresh Agrawal (Samajwadi Party) raises the absence of appropriate emergency services to take care of accidents. He wants a portion of road cess to be allocated for safety expenditure.

The much-awaited Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill — described as an effort towards economic integration of India by finance minister Arun Jaitley — has been taken up by the Rajya Sabha for discussion on Wednesday. The Bill was listed as the day's business by the government. The Bill will be tabled at 12 noon, after the end of question hour.

The discussion will stretch over five hours, allowing major political parties to voice their views and concerns.

"Arun Jaitley to move that the Bill further to amend the Constitution of India, as passed by Lok Sabha and as reported by the Select Committee of Rajya Sabha, be taken into consideration. Also to move that the Bill be passed," recorded the day's business for the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.