GST Bills passed in Lok Sabha; Parliament may lose powers, warns Congress

As four key supplementary GST (Goods and Services Tax) bills were passed in Lok Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the historic step, and congratulated everyone.

Initiating the discussion, M Veerappa Moily of Congress criticized the government's move and said, the GST bill can not be termed as a game changer.

"We are creating by law a jurisdiction simultaneously both in the Centre and states and in the process handing over indirect tax administration to the first federal institution that India has created where Centre and the States will both participate", he said. He said GST implementation would automatically encourage digitisation, bring in transparency, lower prices and stop hoarding of essential commodities, besides curbing black money.

The new regime will put an end to the harassment of businesses by various authorities and there will be a single rate for every commodity across the country, said Jaitley. There will be four tax rates, the highest being 28 percent. There are four slabs in GST - 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%.

After a long eight-hour debate in Lok Sabha, Long awaited GST or Goods and Services Tax bill is passed by the session of Lok Sabha.

The States will pass the State GST or SGST law that will allow them to levy sales tax after levies like VAT are subsumed.

The government intends to roll out GST on July 1.

MS Mani, senior director - indirect tax, Deloitte Haskins & Sells LLP, said the passage of the Bills sets the stage for the definitive introduction of get in the next few months. Mr. Jaitley said GST council will take decision on when to bring alcohol and petroleum under GST.

"The GST council is India's first federal institution where the sovereignty of the Centre and the states in relation to indirect taxes have been pulled in together in a federal institution".

Jaitley further said that the GST Council will have 32 members, including the Union Finance Minister and the Finance Ministers of 29 states and two Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry, which have state legislatures.

In the defense of accusations labeled by Mr Moily, Finance Minister said that the government has emphasized that it wants the GST bills to be passed in parliament with the consensus of all the members of Parliament.

Noting that both the central and state governments are pooling their sovereignty to have this tax regime, Jaitley noted that India, despite being one political entity, remained different economic entities with states having different taxes.

Shiv Sena MPs meeting with Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan is over. "Taxes will be jointly imposed by Centre and states, there will be one tax", he said, adding an expert committee has been appointed to remove bottlenecks relating to GST implementation. The minister said the issue of how service tax paid by banks and IT firms will be treated will be decided by the GST Council.

  • Leroy Wright