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Budget session 2016: JNU, GST and more await NDA government
The government is now under pressure to get the GST Bill passed. The Bill has been blocked for the past two sessions in the upper house of Parliament where the NDA does not have a majority. In what could be an ominous sign 
of the Bill’s fate this session, the leader of the Congress in the lower house of the Parliament Mallikarjun Kharge said, "Contentious Bills should not be brought. Bring only those Bills on which there is a general agreement. Bills like GST will not come in the first half of the session."

Source: Business Standard dated 23 February 2016

Will seek broader consensus on GST: Naidu
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu defended the government over the JNU issue, asserting it has not erred anywhere and said they would look to have a "broader consensus" on important Bills including GST and real estate. Naidu said the Centre was keen to push key legislations like the GST Bill, the Real Estate Bill, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Bill, the Inland Waterways Bill, the Carriage by Air (amendment) Bill, the Anti-Hijacking Bill and the law to grant voting rights to people after the India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement.

Source: Business Standard dated 22 February 2016

Important political parties in the Rajya Sabha ready to back GST: Nitin Gadkari
"I feel that in GST, the other important political parties in the Rajya Sabha are now ready to support it. I am confident that with the support of these regional political parties, we will succeed (in passing) this Bill," Nitin Gadkari Union Minister for Roads, Highways and Shipping said at an exclusive gathering in Mumbai. The event was attended by some of the country's top fund managers, strategists and brokers in the biggest gathering of people related to the financial markets this year. The minister hoped that the Congress would see sense on the measure.

Source: The Economic Times dated 22 February 2016

GST to benefit logistics firms, lower product price by 10%: TCI
The Transport Corporation of India (TCI) said that the indirect tax regime will incentivise logistics firms to invest more in assets and technology. The government has expressed hope that the GST Bill, which is held up in the Rajya Sabha, will be passed in the upcoming Budget session of Parliament. "The GST will benefit companies operating in the supply-chain business. This shall make logistics firms more efficient besides reducing their actual requirement for commercial vehicles and will help in lowering product prices by approximately 10%," TCI Managing Director Vineet Agarwal said.

Source: Moneycontrol dated 22 February 2016

Amit Mitra named Chairman of GST Committee of State Finance Ministers
West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra was named the new Chairman of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on GST. He will succeed Kerala Finance Minister K M Mani who had to resign in November over corruption charges. He will be the second chairman from West Bengal of the panel which is tasked with framing rules for rolling out the ambitious GST regime, which will subsume all indirect taxes and create one national market.

Source: Moneycontrol dated 19 February 2016

Did you know?
The latest tax collection figures (up to 31 January 2016) compiled by the Ministry of Finance indicate a healthy growth of 33.7% in indirect tax and 10.9% in direct tax collections. The government may get more than INR 400 billion above the Budget estimated target for indirect taxes for Financial Year 2015-16 while there might be an equal amount of shortfall in direct tax collections.
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