Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday questioned the legitimacy of the power exercised by members of the Rajya Sabha.
Frustrated over his inability to pass the much-awaited GST Bill because of the BJP’s lack of strength in the Upper House, Jaitley said that the “weight” of directly elected house must always be maintained.
Jaitley, who had reached parliament through Rajya Sabha after losing Lok Sabha elections in 2014, said that he will again be speaking to the Congress on the GST bill.
Speaking at the seminar, he said, “To what extent our Upper House is going to be used to block economic decision making… in Australia the debate is on, the UK has gone through this debate a while ago and Italy is having the same debate. Because ultimately the weight of a directly elected House will always have to be maintained.”
In May last year, Jaitley had stated that Indian democracy faced a serious challenge with an ‘indirectly elected’ Upper House questioning the wisdom of ‘directly elected’ Lok Sabha.
The GST Bill is seeking to replace a slew of central and state levies with a uniform rate. It was passed by Lok Sabha in May, but has been pending because of BJP lacking numbers in Rajya Sabha.
The opposition Congress has stalled the Bill in its current form demanding demanding a cap on GST rate be included in the Constitution Amendment Bill.
“It is now coming down really to one issue. The only opponent to GST is the Congress party. Curiously, the party which had sponsored the law in first instance, has some belated wisdom that you must have a Constitutional cap. Now that seems a little difficult,” Jaitley was quoted by the PTI.