GST Bill Finally Passed; A New Law For A New India, Says Prime Minister Modi

Chamber of Lok Sabha, Sansad Bhavan, Sansad Marg, New Delhi, India (© A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons)

The Lok Sabha today (29 March) passed four key Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bills, rejecting amendments moved by the opposition. The Bills are related to central GST, integrated GST, union territory GST and GST compensation.

Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wished the entire nation over the passage of the Bill.

The central GST deals with taxation related to the centre, integrated GST deals in taxation of inter-state movement of goods and services while the UT GST Bill covers taxation in union territories.

The compensation law has been prepared to give a legislative backing to the centre's promise to compensate the states for five years for any revenue loss arising out of GST implementation.

Responding to an approximately eight-hour-long debate, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the GST will replace various indirect taxes with a new tax regime which will ensure free flow of goods and services across the country. He said the goods will become slightly cheaper after the multiplicity of taxes is removed.

He said the objective of GST is to have one tax and each assessee with one assessing officer. Responding to members’ questions, the minister said under the GST, for one commodity there will be only one tax rate in the country.

He said the division of powers between the centre and the states on taxes are clearly defined in the bill. Jaitley said the GST Council will take a decision on when to bring alcohol and petroleum under GST.

On the criticism of making GST a Money Bill, the Finance Minister said it is taxation law and there has been no single legislation imposing taxes being passed as non-Money Bill since 1950.

Earlier in the day, Jaitley said the tax rates will be kept at the current levels so as not to have any inflationary impact.

Initiating the discussion, Congress leader M Veerappa Moily criticised the government’s move and said the GST bill cannot be termed as a game-changer, alleging that the new legislation will lead to tax distortion between the state and central tax administration. He also alleged that there are no anti-inflationary measures in the bill.

Government has set a target of 1 July for the roll-out of GST, which will subsume excise, service tax, VAT and other local levies. Once these Bills are cleared by Parliament, the states will then take the state GST Bill to their respective assemblies. The S-GST has been prepared as a model of the central GST, with each state incorporating state-specific exemptions.

With Inputs From ANI.

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