Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa flew down to New Delhi today to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, her first visit to the national capital after the AIADMK's stunning victory in the Assembly polls last month. There are two reasons why the meeting of the AIADMK chief with Modi is significant. One, the BJP is expected to ask Jayalalithaa to join the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which governs the country.
In return, Jaya is expected to ask for more central funding for Tamil Nadu. The formation of the Cauvery Management Board and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee for the implementation of the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal and Mullaperiyar Dam issues will be among the water resources-related issues that she is expected to take up with Modi.
Continuing arrests of Tamil Nadu fishermen by Sri Lankan navy vis-a-vis protection of their traditional fishing rights and the retrieval of Katchatheevu which was ceded to the Island Nation decades ago by India are also likely to come up for discussion between the two leaders. Two, the passage of the landmark Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill in Rajya Sabha, where the AIADMK has 13 MPs. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said all the states barring Tamil Nadu have supported the idea of the GST.
"Virtually all the states have supported the idea of GST today barring Tamil Nadu which has expressed some reservations. Tamil Nadu has offered a few a suggestions which have been noted by the committee," Jaitley told reporters on the first day of the two-day meet. The bill for a pan-India GST to thoroughly overhaul India's indirect tax regime, first mooted by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance regime at the Centre, has been passed by the Lok Sabha, but is stalled in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling NDA lacks a majority.
The government had initially targeted to roll out the nationwide single tax regime from April 1, 2016, but the Constitutional Amendment Bill on GST has been stuck in the Rajya Sabha due to opposition by the Congress party, which enjoyed the majority in the Upper House.