Legislation on GST may miss Winter Session

The four pieces of legislation required to be passed by Parliament for the roll-out of the Goods and Services Tax will not be tabled in the Winter Session as the sixth meeting of the Goods and Services Tax Council on Sunday failed to reach a consensus while Monday’s meeting has been shifted to December 22-23.

The Winter session ends on December 16.“Our target is April 1 and we stand by it,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters following the meeting on Sunday.

“The luxury of time is not available to us. April 1 is the first possible day for the GST to be implemented and the last day is constitutionally defined as September 16. So the difference is just five months and 15 days. That’s why we don’t have the luxury of time.”

Cross empowerment

Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac told reporters after the meeting that he was not confident about meeting that deadline saying that since cross empowerment had not been discussed, an April 1 roll-out will not be possible.

“The Budget Session this time starts in January,” Mr.Jaitley said, indicating that the government was still hopeful of passing the legislation during the first half of the session.

“We have discussed in detail, section by section and chapter by the chapter, the important legislations of Central GST and State GST,” Mr.Jaitley said, adding that the contentious issue of cross-empowerment was not on the agenda on Sunday.

The meeting, supposed to continue on Monday, had been truncated in order to allow state ministers to visit their constituencies during Eid, Mr.Jaitley said.

The next meeting will take place on December 22 and 23. “We went up to clause 99 of the legislation,” he said. “Some require to be re-drafted. They will be discussed during the next session.“The next session will deal with finalising the CGST and SGST legislation,” the Finance Minister said.

“We will also discuss the other two smaller legislations of Inter-state GST, Compensation Law and the issue of cross-empowerment. Having missed the Winter Session, one would hope that Centre and States would be able to work together to make it happen in the Budget Session,” said Pratik Jain, Partner and Leader, Indirect Taxes at PwC India. “April 1, 2017 seems a stretched target now and a minimum of three months delay looks quite imminent.”

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2020 11:32:26 PM |

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