GST Debate In Lok Sabha Today, Arun Jaitley Hopes To Meet Deadline

During the ongoing Lok Sabha session in the Parliament today centered on the GST bill, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley warned against unilateralism by any state legislature in putting into effect tax laws not agreed upon or recommended by the GST Council.

Jaitley also argued against the opposition MPs demand that the bills be declared Constitutional amendment bills and not money bills, by saying that "here is a bill which is squarely a taxation law". He said that the GST Council has been set up under Article 279 (A) of the Constitution and indirect tax administration has been handed over to the Council.

Four GST bills that were tabled in the Parliament by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley have been passed by the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

Speaking in favour of multiple tax rates, Jaitley said that taxes must be considered according to the type of commodities. The rules will be taken up for final approval at the next meeting to be held in Srinagar on 18-19 May where the rates of individual commodities will also be taken up for consideration.

A cess will be levied on demerit and luxury goods temporarily for a period of 5 years and its proceeds will be utilised for compensating the states for their revenue losses.

The Lower House of Parliament passed the bills by voice vote, after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan initiated clause-by-clause voting at the end of a long debate on GST, billed as the country's biggest tax reforms since independence. The government has set the maximum GST rate at 40% and introduced provisions for an anti-profiteering authority and arrests for evading taxes.

The bills, which bring the "one-nation, one-tax" regime closer to reality, will now be taken up in the Rajya Sabha.

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. "It is a kind of federal contract with consensus", he said. Another levy applies when goods cross state lines. The rules for return, registration, payment, invoice and refund were approved in second meeting of GST Council on September 30 previous year.

The states will pass the State GST or SGST law that will allow them to levy sales tax after VAT and the like are subsumed. "Congratulations to every trader, producer and consumer of goods and services in the country on the passage of historic GST Laws", Jaitley said here in a tweet. The council made a broad arrangement on division of work between the Centre and State.

  • Zachary Reyes