While meeting of top Congress leaders with Prime Minister Narendra was going on Friday, Minister of State for Finance, Jayant Sinha exuded confidence that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill will be passed in the current session of Parliament.
Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi and Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh met Modi on Friday and it is expected that logjam would break after their second meeting soon. Meanwhile talking to reporters, Sinha said that the Bill would be passed soon as the government is willing to consider the suggestions being made and will find "some common ground for everyone".
"We are in continuous consultation with our colleagues in Parliament. Our hope very much is that we will be able to get GST passed. Whatever reasonable suggestions are made from our colleague in opposition, we are absolutely willing to consider it," he said.
As far as the additional one per cent tax in the GST regime is concerned, he said there have been many opinions voiced on the issue. It has become a key point in the debate on GST.
"We have to find a solution that is acceptable to all stakeholders… We have to find some common ground for everyone,"Sinha said.
GST, which will subsume more than a dozen state levies to create a single market, is to be implemented from April 1, 2016. A Constitution Amendment Bill could not go through the Rajya Sabha in the last session of Parliament due to opposition from Congress.The April 1 deadline may be missed if Parliament does not pass the Bill in the ongoing Winter Session from November 26 to December 23.Once the Bill is passed, more than half of the states have to ratify it before Parliament passes another enabling bill to implement GST.
Sinha expressed concerned about rising non-performing assets (NPAs) of the state-run banks. He said it is an area that the government has been intensively analyzing and very vigilant in that regard.
"NPAs are result of many factors. There is not one silver bullet that is going to deal with the NPAs that we have in the banking system. It will require us to take a multi-dimensional approach," he added.
A senior financial ministry officials also said that the government is planning to set up a high-level panel to look into the sectors that are putting pressure on the asset quality of public sector banks.
The panel is likely to be headed by Sinha. Gross NPAs of Public sector banks rose to 6.03 percent at the end of June quarter. Sources say that geographical differentiation is expected to happen soon, with smaller banks serving smaller areas, trust gets better and outreach is better and personal.