Published: Fri, April 07, 2017
Markets | By Lucia Cruz

Parliament passes four bills to pave way for GST July rollout

Parliament passes four bills to pave way for GST July rollout

The Goods and Services Tax supplementary bills will be tabled in Rajya Sabha today after it was cleared in Lok Sabha on March 29. Ramesh said Singh wanted the consensus in the GST Council to be respected and that the House should not be seen as standing against it.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday reflected on the Goods and Service Tax bill being passed in the Rajya Sabha and said that the government will give a final approval to the rules and rates on May 17-18 and hoped that the law could be implemented as planned on July 1.

That the Congress floor strategy on the GST bills was fluid was evident early today when former finance minister P. Chidambaram decided not to intervene in the debate. "And that is something which is a very serious lacuna in this Bill, which has to be corrected", he said.

Jaitley said that to make tax filing easier under the GST, the provision of quarterly returns is there in the new indirect tax regime.

Stating that the passage of the much-awaited Goods and Services (GST) Bill can be a "game changer", former prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Thursday said there must be a cooperation between the federal government and the state government to resolve those outstanding issues.

Participating in the debate, Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal-United said that "GST should be made easy, so people do not have any tax related problems".

Jaitley said the GST Council, comprising Finance Ministers of Union and states, had agreed to take a decision on bringing real estate within the ambit of the new tax regime within a year of its rollout.

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"We are already in a transition phase".

It will subsume all the existing indirect taxes levied by the Centre and states under one single tax.

About petrol being left out of the purview of the GST, he said it would lead to "complete inconsistency".

The GST is one of the most significant reforms since India opened its economy in the early 1990s that will harmonise a mosaic of state and central levies into a national sales tax.

Sitaram Yechury of the Communist Party of India-Marxist expressed frustration that the GST was introduced to the Rajya Sabha as a finance bill.

"Parliament can not be ignored", he said, suggesting that GST should be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

"But, even worse than that is the fact that both in the Central GST and the State GST, the tax rate can be up to a maximum of 20 per cent, which means, theoretically speaking, for any good or service, you can have a maximum rate of 40 per cent".

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