Rajya Sabha Okays All Four GST Bills - With Manmohan Singh's Help

Posted April 07, 2017

The Lok Sabha had passed passed four key GST Bills on March 29 while rejecting amendments moved by the opposition.

"The house has passed the four bills related to Goods and Services Tax (GST) and these are being discussed in the upper house".

"Yesterday the former prime minister [Singh] advised me not the move the amendment because it will be disturb the fine consensus that has been arrived in the GST Council".

The anti-profiteering provision was introduced by the Indian government to ensure that any tax benefit caused by GST would be passed on to consumers through lower priced goods and services, and not serve to benefit companies. GST is a unified tax that will subsume all indirect taxes. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has set July 1 as the launch date of GST.

"Government can acquire 1-2 per cent more shares in GSTN, but not sure if the flexibility will remain". He said, it is a matter of happiness that all political parties extended their support in the passage of the bills.

On whether the measure would help increase the GDP, he said, "it could be a game-changer but we should not assume that there will be no difficulties on the way".

The GST regime, which will replace the existing indirect tax structure in the country, is expected to further boost the business sentiment and aid economic growth.

Responding to concerns expressed by the members, Jaitley insisted that the GST will not lead to inflation.

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. There will be cap rate of 40 per cent, Jaitley said.

Under the GST, there will only be one tax rate in the country for one commodity.

Jaitley said the successive governments have contributed towards the GST and no one person can take credit for it. "I fear... we will be creating a machine, a monster and I am not saying that it will be a Financial Frankenstein", Sampath said. The new tax regime aims to facilitate flow of goods across state borders and create a single point of administrative control for taxpayers.

One more piece of legislation, the State GST Bill, will have to be passed by the legislative assemblies of States and Union Territories with legislature.

MoS (Finance) Santosh Gangwar said the changes are necessary.

"We can of course ask the Council to reconsider its suggestion".

He said the GSTN has been designed in such a manner that it can not be audited by CAG and RTI too does not apply to it.

"Whatever goods are exempted from tax today, will remain exempted". "The status quo will continue", he said, allaying concerns on this front.

There are 4.20 lakh vacancies, which comes to about 11.5 per cent of the staff strength, Tharoor said, adding there is also lack of coordination among the various departments.

Now food articles are not taxed and those will continue to be zero rated under the GST.