To fix tax rate, GST Council holds its first meet in Delhi

SansadTV Bureau
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley being greeted by Chief Minister of Puducherry, V Narayanasamy at the First Meeting of the GST Council in New Delhi Photo-PTI

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley being greeted by Chief Minister of Puducherry, V Narayanasamy at the First Meeting of the GST Council in New Delhi
Photo-PTI

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is chairing the first meeting of the GST Council on Thursday in New Delhi. This meeting comes a day after government indicated early preparations for next year’s annual budget.

The GST council—the representative body with Union finance minister and state finance ministers as members—is meeting for the first time on Thursday and Friday in New Delhi after it was constituted by the Union Cabinet early this month.

In its first ever meeting, GST Council is expected to finalize the rules of conduct and business, procedures secretarial works, details about who can represent the states and will have the voting power as well as the election of the vice-chairman from among state finance ministers.

The council will also discuss the issue of sharing of administrative control between the Centre and the states and tax rates.  It will also deliberate on tax rate and other provisions required implementing the Goods and Services Tax and give its recommendations to government of India within 60 days.

“With the rollout of Goods and Services Tax, the changes in excise and service tax, which are normally proposed in the general budget, will now shift to the GST Council and hence there will be a less onerous Finance Bill for Parliament to debate,” said a Finance Ministry source.

Council will also deliberate on matters like model GST laws, GST rates, goods and services that may be subjected to or exempted from GST during its two daylong sessions starting on September 22.

The government is keen to implement the biggest tax reform since Independence from April 1 so as to ensure a smooth rollover to the changed tax structure from the beginning of the new fiscal and avoid mid-year alterations.

Recently, Prime Minister Modi chaired a review meeting on the progress of the GST reform last week and directed officers to speed up the work to roll out the ambitious GST on April 1. PM has directed that all steps required in this direction should be completed before that date.

“The Prime Minister directed that all steps must be completed much before 1st April, 2017,” said a PMO statement.

The Goods and Services Tax Act received Presidents ascent after more than 50% of states ratified the constitutional amendment passed by Parliament  during the monsoon session.