GST debate in LS: Jaitley says prices of goods won’t rise

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley speaks in the Lok Sabha in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI Photo / TV GRAB

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley speaks in the Lok Sabha in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI Photo / TV GRAB

On Tuesday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduced four bills in Lok Sabha to give effect to the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Allaying apprehension of spike in prices of goods and commodities after the roll out of the GST, Jaitley said the tax rates will be kept at the current levels so as not to have any inflationary impact.

While pushing for the one nation, one tax, Jaitley said the legislations will have to be passed by Parliament and one by each of the state assemblies to turn India into one market with a single tax rate.

“These are revolutionary bills which will benefit all. …States have pooled in their sovereignty into the GST council, and Centre has done the same,” he said.

Jaitley said all decisions on GST would be taken by the GST Council, reflecting the federal structure. He added that the GST Council will make recommendations to the Centre and the states on issues relating to the tax structure.

The bills are the Central Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017, the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017, the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Bill, 2017 and the Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017.

Explaining the bills, he said the Central GST or CGST will give powers to the Centre to levy tax after levies of excise, service tax and additional customs duty is subsumed.

The Integrated GST or IGST will be a tax to be levied by the Centre on inter-state movement of goods and services.

The States will pass the State GST or SGST law that will allow them to levy sales tax after levies like VAT are subsumed.

Besides, GST compensation law allows for imposition of cess on certain luxury goods like tobacco, high-end cars and aereated drinks to create a corpus for compensating states for any loss of revenue in the first five years of GST roll out.

The fourth law introduced is on Union Territory GST or UTGST for UTs like Chandigarh and Daman and Diu which do not have assemblies.

The Finance Minister also explained the various tax slabs under the GST.

The GST Council has already approved four-tier tax slabs of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent plus an additional cess on demerit goods like luxury cars, aerated drinks and tobacco products. The work on putting various goods and services in the different slabs is slated to begin next month.

The Compensation Law provides for levy of cess on top of the peak rate of approved tax (28 per cent presently) on paan masala, tobacco, aerated waters, luxury cars and coal to create a non-lapsable fund for compensating states.

(With inputs from PTI)