GST bills passed in Rajya Sabha without amendments

GST bills passed in Rajya Sabha without amendments

Four supplementary legislations to the GST bill were passed today by Rajya Sabha, paving the way for its rollout from July 1.

The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha last August but it was brought before the Lower House as Rajya Sabha had passed it last month with two minor amendments.

Earlier, replying to the debate on the four bills in the Rajya Sabha, Jaitley said that goods that are now exempt from taxes at present will remain so once the GST is implemented. It is the country's biggest tax reform since 1947.

Ramesh said he was not moving this amendment at all in keeping with the spirit of consensus, to maintain the federal framework and to give respect to the GST council.

Under the GST, there will only be one tax rate in the country for one commodity. The Congress' top leadership discussed the issue at length and decided not to press or move any amendments in the four GST enabling bills. "And I have no difficulty in sharing the credit for this with everyone, particularly, the State Governments", said Jaitley while replying to the discussion. He said, it is a matter of happiness that all political parties extended their support in the passage of the bills. He further said with implementation of the GST, revenue of Centre, states and industry and trade must benefit.

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With regard to agriculture products, the Finance Minister said those farm products which are exempt, will remain exempted.

"Parliament can not be ignored", he said, suggesting that GST should be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

While the above anticipations are mostly basis the information released/ statements of government officials available in the public domain, we would need to await the final fitment structure released by the Government on categorization and related rates for various goods or services.

Ancilliary products also will remain exempted, he added.

He said the powers to a tax officer to take punitive decisions would lead to "administrative overreach" at a time when "we are already suffering from tax terrorism".

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Jaitley said the cess would be transient for a period of 5 years so that the proceeds can be utilised to compensate the states. "This is the reason the amendments in taxation law have been necessitated", the minister added.

Mr. Jaitley said, out of nine set of rules which are to be made for implementation of GST, five set of rules have been finalised and four others have been approved tentatively.

With some members raising concerns about the structure of GST Network which include some private players, the minister said that the present structure was created to hire the best talent pool and can be changed anytime.

The Centre owns 24.5 per cent stake in GSTN, state governments own another 24.5 per cent, while the HDFC, NSE Strategic Investment Corporation, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank own 10 per cent each.

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