April 6, 2017

The four 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.

The Lok Sabha last month had approved the Central GST (CGST), Integrated GST (IGST), Union Territory GST (UTGST) and the Compensation to states law.

Replying to a debate on the bills in Rajya Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said there is no hesitation in conceding that it is not a bill for which one person or one government should take credit.

Soon after GST bills were passed in the upper house of the Parliament, Jaitley expressed his happiness on consensus over the bills.

"I am extremely happy at the fact that when it comes in larger interest of the nation, all political parties have spoken in one voice," he said.

"On 17-18 May we will give final approval to rules and rates; looks like it can be implemented from July 1," he said, adding, "There would be hurdles or issues in implementation and those will be resovled by the GST council as soon as possible."

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh termed the move as game changer.

"It could be a game changer but can't assume there will be no difficulties on the way," the former PM said.

In Rajya Sabha, as soon as the GST bill was passed, finance minister Arun Jaitley went to the seat of Manmohan Singh and shook hands with him.

Interestingly, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh didn't move any amendments on GST bill saying he was advised against it by former PM Manmohan Singh.

Touted as the biggest indirect tax reform since independence, GST would subsume central excise, service tax and other local levies.

Now, the state assemblies would consider and pass their respective State GST (SGST) law.

The GST Council has already decided on a 4-tier rate structure of 5, 12, 18 and 28 percent and a cess on the peak rate for demerit and luxury goods.

The all-powerful GST Council had on last Friday approved five amended rules for the Goods and Services Tax regime and gave "tentative" nod to the remaining four as the Central government sprints to meet the July 1 rollout target.

The final nod to the four rules as also fixation of GST rates for major commodities and services will be done in the next meeting in Srinagar on May 18-19.

[The Times of India]