New Delhi: The Union government has described as a “good beginning” the meeting on GST Bill between Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former PM Manmohan Singh.
“A good beginning has been made. PM's meeting with Sonia ji was very good,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said on Saturday.
Speaking about yesterday's meeting at the PM's 7, RCR residence, Naidu said Sonia reiterated that her party supports the Bill in principle.
“They just want a few changes to be made. I am optimistic (about the Bill),” the minister stated.
“The public and everyone else want the GST Bill passed,” he added.
PM Modi Friday evening met his predecessor Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi to discuss the contentious Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill. Though no breakthrough was achieved at the meeting, the leaders agreed to meet again to break the deadlock.
Congress also termed the meeting as constructive and hoped that the government would seriously reflect on their demands on GST.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who was also present during the deliberations, said: "The Congress party leaders put forth their position with regard to the three issues of the Bill, which they felt are of concern to them. The history and background of the legislation and the government's response to three issues in detail was explained to them."
"The Congress party leaders would be discussing it within their own party and there would be after sometime a fresh contact between the government and them to discuss the subject further," he added.
Jaitley said the government has also considered the position the opposition has taken.
"Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu will be in touch with the leaders of Congress party in both the houses of parliament to discuss each one of the specific legislations so that work could proceed in parliament next week," Jaitley said.
Apart from Jaitley, Naidu was also present during the meeting.
The Congress said that it has been a constructive engagement and it will be a work in progress.
"It has been agreed that we as Congress, after this meeting, have our own discussion and deliberations and the government will also seriously reflect on demands of the Congress, which is in the interest of the economy and interest of the people of India and after that once the deliberations are complete then there would be any further contact," senior party leader Anand Sharma told reporters.
"We hope that the government has registered our concerns and the merits of what we are saying," he added.
Sharma said that the Congress was the original author of GST and its demand was neither political nor partisan.
(With IANS inputs)