Indian Parliament
The GST Bill is likely to be passed by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. Pictured: The Indian parliament.Reuters

The winter session of Parliament will begin on Thursday with a two-day discussion on "commitment to Constitution" to commemorate Dr BR Ambedkar's birth anniversary, during which the Prime Minister is likely to take up the issue of "rising intolerance in the nation" for discussion in both the Houses.

However, the opposition parties have decided to stall the proceedings of the winter session on the "rising intolerance" issue and may even demand a resolution to condemn incidents such as the Dadri lynching and the murder of rationalist writers like MM Kalburgi.

"We are going to raise the issue of intolerance. What is happening in the country is disturbing and the Prime Minister is silent," Hindustan Times quoted Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi as saying during his visit to Bengaluru.

The government is, however, firm on its stance that India is as tolerant as it was ever before and the several incidents that have happened in the last few months were law and order issues pertaining to states. But, it is willing to discuss all issues and concerns raised by the opposition at the Parliament.

"The government does not share the perception that intolerance is on the rise. Some stray incidents that happened are in the domain of responsibility of state governments. We are wise enough to appreciate that development is possible only in an atmosphere of peace and harmony," Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said.

"We are willing to go along with Opposition in this regard for a discussion in an appropriate manner, if you desire," Naidu said, according to PTI report.

Even as the opposition and the government have their differences on the "intolerance" issue, both sides have reportedly agreed on an early passage of the GST Bill after Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to the Opposition for cooperation on the issue.

The Congress has also agreed to hold discussions on the GST Bill as they have "very genuine concerns".

"We are open for discussions. Let us see how far they go ahead," said Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad.

The Constitution (122nd amendment) Bill 2014 or the GST Bill, as it is commonly referred to, is seen as a major step towards tax reforms in the country.

Since it is a constitutional amendment legislation, it needs two-thirds majority to be passed in both houses of parliament and also by legislatures of half of the states to become a national law. It is currently pending in the Rajya Sabha where the government is in minority.

(With inputs from IANS)

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