Good and services tax bill introduced in LS, Cong walks out

GST will replace a range of central indirect taxes and VAT in states

GN Bureau | April 24, 2015


#goods and services tax   #GST   #Arun Jaitley  

With an aim to roll it out from next April, finance minister Arun Jaitley on Friday moved the constitution amendment bill for the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) in the Lok Sabha. The introduction of the bill saw a walkout by Congress members, who wanted it to be sent to the standing committee of finance.

Regional parties such as the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Biju Janata Dal and Trinamool Congress also wanted the bill to be sent to the standing committee. Their point was that the current version of the bill is very different from the earlier version. However, this was rejected by Jaitley. He said the bill has seen extensive deliberations involving the standing committee of finance, empowered committee of state finance ministers and the Centre over the last few years.

The bill will be debated next week as opposition members sought more time to move any amendments.

Jaitley said GST will simplify and harmonize the indirect tax structure, reduce cost of production and inflation in the economy and ensure India becomes a common seamless market. The GST is unlikely to lead in any major revenue loss for the states, he claimed.

 “The constitution amendment bill for GST has seen the most extensive debate since 1950s. Nobody has the monopoly to stop the growth of the country. The UPA (United Progressive Alliance) should start backing legislations that itself has introduced,” said Jaitley. The GST’s implementation will increase gross domestic product (GDP) growth by 1-2 percentage points, the finance minister said.

What is GST?
The goods and services tax will subsumes various central indirect taxes, including the central excise duty, countervailing duty, service tax and states taxes like value added tax (VAT), octroi and entry tax, luxury tax.

It will make legislation on the taxation of goods and services a concurrent power of the centre and the states.

It will shift taxation from the sale or purchase of goods to the supply of goods or services.

The bill seeks to establish a GST council and it will decide which taxes levied by the centre, states and local bodies will go into the GST; which goods and services will be subjected to GST; and the basis and the rates at which GST will be applied resolution of disputes.

The centre will levy an additional one per cent tax on the supply of goods in the course of inter-state trade, which will go to the State for two years or till when the GST council decides.

Parliament can decide on compensating states for up to a five-year period if States incur losses by implementation of GST.

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