"Left to myself, I will continue till the last moment to persuade the Congress," he said. The Goods and Services Tax bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in May last year and is pending ratification by the Rajya Sabha or Upper House, where the ruling NDA does not have a majority. Congress is opposing the bill in current form and demanding that a cap on GST rate be included in the Constitution Amendment Bill.
"I am in agreement with them that the taxation rate must be reasonable. I also agree with the spirit of suggestion that it should not go beyond 18 per cent. I have no difficulty with that," Jaitley added.
But the tax rate cannot be prescribed in the Constitution Amendment Bill, he said. "There is only a difficulty about prescribing tax in the Constitution because you never know unforeseen emergencies. Therefore the Congress will have to see the reasonableness of this particular view."
The GST Bill, India's biggest indirect tax reform since independence, seeks to replace a slew of central and state levies, transforming the nation of 1.3 billion people into a customs union. After it is approved by the Rajya Sabha, the legislation needs to be ratified by half of the 29 states so as to roll out GST possibly by October 1.
Asked if the government would reach out to Congress again, the Finance Minister said, "We discuss with them frequently. I will again be speaking to them."
The government, Jaitley said, had the numbers in Rajya Sabha to get the Bill through after considering support of  non-NDA parties like TMC and BJD for the legislation.
"Numbers are in our favour but my preference is to do it with consensus because after all it is states which also have to implement this," he said.


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