NEW DELHI: The government's legislative agenda may suffer a setback as the Congress-led opposition looks set to demand that the Constitution amendment bill on Goods and Services Tax and the Real Estate Bill be sent to select committees of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, respectively.
The hurdle the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2013 — slated to be taken up for consideration and passage on Tuesday — faces is evident with many Opposition parties rushing with notices to Chairman Hamid Ansari on Monday evening. These parties are demanding that the bill be referred to a select committee of the House for scrutinising 'contentious amendments' which were dubbed by Congress vicepresident Rahul as "pro-builder and anti-home buyer." The notices, given by Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav, have the support of Congress, Janata Parivar parties, DMK, CPM and CPI, according to sources.
Congress' demand that the GST Bill — to be moved for debate and passage by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday — should be referred to a House committee makes its chances of clearing the Rajya Sabha test difficult. Government managers, however, are hopeful of getting it passed in the Lok Sabha, where it has the requisite two-thirds majority for a Constitution amendment bill.
The government is also trying to win the support of AIADMK, BJD and Trinamool Congress. Ever since AIADMK and BJD demanded the bill be referred to a standing committee when it is taken up in the House last week, Jaitley has been talking to Jayalalithaa and Naveen Patnaik for their parties' support. While sections in the government are hoping to get JD(U) on board on the GST bill, party president Sharad Yadav struck an ambiguous note on Sunday: "GST bill is something that concerns state governments. Therefore, it would be better if the Centre holds discussions with the state governments on the pending issues to arrive at a consensus before pushing the bill," Yadav said.
Rahul Gandhi made Congress' opposition to the real estate bill when he called it "pro-builder". The government is keen on getting the bill that seeks to establish regulation and promotion of the real estate sector and to ensure sale of plot, apartment or building in an efficient and transparent manner passed in this session of Parliament. TMC supports the bill while some other opposition parties are ambiguous about their support.