General consensus on GST Bill likely

"There is no protest against the Bill...the protest is for a different reason."

Updated - November 28, 2021 07:40 am IST

Published - August 12, 2015 02:44 am IST - New Delhi:

The Modi government on Tuesday moved for consideration of the Rajya Sabha the Constitution Amendment Bill for the introduction of the Goods & Services Tax (GST).

Amid slogan-shouting by Congress members, Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien adjourned the House for the day. “This being a Constitution Amendment Bill, I cannot take up the Bill in pandemonium,” he said. A Constitution amendment requires division of votes for which every member has to be in his or her seat.

Later, Kerala’s Finance Minister and Chairman of Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers K.M. Mani seemed to indicate that the government had managed a consensus on the Bill. “All the parties have agreed. There is a general agreement regarding GST,” he told presspersons here. Asked if concerns raised by various political parties had been addressed in the Bill, Mr. Mani replied in the affirmative, according to a PTI report.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told presspersons that the Congress stood isolated with almost no political group supporting its “disruptionist” tactics.

Specifically, on the Congress stalling the Bill in the Rajya Sabha, he said: “There is no protest against the Bill…the protest is for a different reason.”

Mr. Mani said that if the Bill is not passed in the current session of Parliament then it will become “very difficult” to roll out the new indirect tax regime by the target date of April 1, 2016 but also added that in case its passage is pushed to the Winter Session, efforts will be made to enforce it by the target deadline.

“Implementation will be very difficult even though we will overcome that and we will try to bring it into force from April 1, 2016…I hope that the Bill can be passed [in current session]….Otherwise, there is a Winter Session,” said Mr. Mani, who is the Finance Minister in the Congress-led United Democratic Front government in Kerala.

All about GST Bill

1 Officially, the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Second Amendment) Bill 2014.
2 It was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 19, 2014 by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
3 The Bill seeks to amend the Constitution to introduce a goods and services tax (GST) which will subsumes various Central indirect taxes, including the Central Excise Duty, Countervailing Duty, Service Tax, etc. It also subsumes State value added tax (VAT), octroi and entry tax, luxury tax, etc.
4 The Bill inserts a new Article in the Constitution make legislation on the taxation of goods and services a concurrent power of the Centre and the States.
5 The Bill seeks to shift the restriction on States for taxing the sale or purchase of goods to the supply of goods or services.
6 The Bill seeks to establish a GST Council tasked with optimising tax collection for goods and services by the State and Centre. The Council will consist of the Union Finance Minister (as Chairman), the Union Minister of State in charge of revenue or Finance, and the Minister in charge of Finance or Taxation or any other, nominated by each State government.
7 The GST Council will be the body that decides which taxes levied by the Centre, States and local bodies will go into the GST; which goods and services will be subjected to GST; and the basis and the rates at which GST will be applied.
8 Under the Bill, alcoholic liquor for human consumption is exempted from GST. Also, it will be up to the GST Council to decide when GST would be levied on various categories of fuel, including crude oil and petrol.
9 The Centre will levy an additional one per cent tax on the supply of goods in the course of inter-State trade, which will go to the States for two years or till when the GST Council decides.
10 Parliament can decide on compensating States for up to a five-year period if States incur losses by implementation of GST.
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