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India's Parliament stall Modi's reforms

With a week left in the parliamentary session, passage is unlikely.

By Ed Adamczyk
India's Parliament stall Modi's reforms
An aggressive reform package proposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will likely not survive in Parliament. File Photo: UPI/Heinz Ruckemann | License Photo

NEW DELHI, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- India's sweeping legislation to reform its taxes and economy has been slowed by political opposition in both legislatures, with little chance of success this session.

The monsoon session – named for India's rainy season – will end next week with hopes fading for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Goods and Services Tax (GST), a national tax designed to slice through local tax structures and create a single market across the country.

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Bills related to tax reform and the federal purchase of land are stalled in the upper and lower houses of Parliament, where Modi's party does not have a majority, by parties insisting that Modi first remove several ministers accused of corruption, including Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.

The land reform bill could ease building of factories and infrastructure but has been denounced as anti-agriculture.

Modi was elected in 2014 on a platform of invigorating India's slowing economy, but the delays indicate Modi's ambitious programs will not be passed in this parliamentary session. Areas of reform, including education, health, labor laws and the building of roads remain largely under state government authority.

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The stalling tactics are seen as blocking needed reforms in India, likely to be undertaken by Modi's government in the next parliamentary session.

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