With most states on board, the government plans to take up the Constitution Amendment Bill on GST for consideration and passage within a few days during the ongoing session of Parliament to ensure roll out of the new indirect tax regime from April 1, 2016.
“In view of the near unanimous support of states, that it is going to be a win win situation for all, we will go ahead with the Constitution Amendment in the current session of Parliament,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters after a meeting with the members of the empowered committee of state FMs.
The bill on Goods and Services Tax was introduced in the Lok Sabha in December. A single rate of GST will replace central excise, state VAT, entertainment tax, octroi, entry tax, luxury tax and purchase tax on goods and services to ensure seamless transfer of goods and services.
“I will be giving notice (so that it can be) taken up for discussion in the Lok Sabha . . .in next couple of days,” Jaitley said.
Although most of the states are on board, Tamil Nadu voiced reservation over a bill being introduced in Parliament before a consensus on actual rates and tax bands is evolved through the empowered committee.
The GST legislation, being a Constitution Amendment, will require support of the two-third members of Parliament and thereafter ratification by half of the states.
“Today the positive is (that) states are quite determined and they see the obvious benefits of the GST. The concerns cut across party lines and it is a genuine relationship between the centre and states. Broadly, the approach of the states and centre is converging in the same direction,” he said.
Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said: “We see no obstacles that will interfere with the April 1, 2016 timeline for GST.”