Parl clears 4 GST bills as July deadline looms closer

Krishnanand Tripathi
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Rajya Sabha on 06 April 2017.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Rajya Sabha on 06 April 2017.

Rajya Sabha today approved four important GST related bills by a voice vote paving the way for the implementation of the biggest overhaul of indirect taxes since independence.

Passage of the four bills – 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 amd The Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017 will enable the central and state governments to replace most of the taxes and levies on production, supply and sales of goods and services in the country with a single tax called – Goods and Services Tax.

States will now approve their state specific SGST laws that is replica of central GST law. Jammu & Kashmir assembly, due to its special status under article 370 of Indian constitution will pass a separate GST law to join the new tax system.

Responding to members’ queries finance minister Arun Jaitley said, “Broad approach has been in support of the bill.”

Jaitley also admitted that this may not be a perfect GST law.

“In an experiment like this there is always scope for the improvement,” said the finance minister as he yielded for every Rajya Sabha member who raised queries during his marathon reply.

Idea of a common goods and services tax was formally mooted in 2006 budget. It took more than a decade in forging consensus and states were apprehensive about any prospective loss of revenue and wanted compensation guarantee as part of the constitutional amendment bill.

Rajya Sabha members debated the various provisions of the bills for two days on Wednesday and Thursday and opposition parties like Trinmool Congress and CPI(M) moved amendments

Amendments moved by AITC member Derek O’ Brien in the Central GST Bill and CPIM members Tapan Kumar Sen and TKS Rangarajan in the Integrated GST Bill were defeated during the division of votes and the upper house passed the bill as it was approved by the Lower House.