Even as Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu has set out to soothe nerves and balm hurt feelings of the opposition benches to forge a consensus on the GST bill, Indianmandarins has learnt that the panel headed by Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian to finalise the revenue neutral rate for GST is likely to propose a 18 per cent rate as demanded by the Congress Party. The panel is expected to submit its report shortly. This may provide the government a respectable cover to bend to Congress’ demand without appearing to be so.
While the government and industry are in favour of a slightly higher rate of 20 per cent to 22 per cent for GST, the Congress has been demanding that the rate be kept at 18 per cent.
Hectic parleys have been taking place between treasury and opposition representatives in Parliament to ensure passage of the GST bill as pressure mounts from trade and industry to set aside politics on the GST issue.