Rajya Sabha passes GST bills

07 April, 2017, 02:53 | Author: Elaine Woods
  • Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Replying to the debate on the four bills in the Rajya Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the goods that are exempted from taxes now will remain to be exempted once the GST is in place.

Praful Patel of the Nationalist Congress Party expressed apprehension over the proposed "harsh punishments" in the GST bills.

On March 29, India's lower house of parliament approved the Central Goods and Services Tax Bill, Integrated Goods and Service Tax Bill, Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill, and the Goods and Services Compensation to States Bill.

The compensation law has been prepared to give a legislative backing to the Centre's promise to compensate the states for five years for any revenue loss arising out of GST implementation.

Replying to a debate on the bills in Rajya Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said there is no hesitation in conceding that it is not a bill for which one person or one government should take credit.

On demands of change in the structure of Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) that is creating the information technology (IT) backbone for the new indirect tax regime, Jaitley said that the shareholding pattern has been set after detailed discussions to ensure the flexibility of the company. "And that is something which is a very serious lacuna in this Bill, which has to be corrected", he said.

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Manmohan Singh hailed the passage of GST bills by Parliament and observed that the new indirect tax regime could be a "game-changer", he, however, cautioned that there could be "difficulties" in its implementation. "It will become hard to implement", Jaitley said but O'Brien did not relent.

Now, state assemblies must approve a fifth bill before the new tax system can be rolled out.

He said the harsh provisions related to the recovery of tax should not be implemented during the transition phase of the GST.

The GST is one of the most significant reforms since India opened its economy in the early 1990s that will harmonise a mosaic of state and central levies into a national sales tax. He said, the work on fixing rates has started and GST council will take final decision next month. The bill seeks to include "warehouse" in the definition of customs area to protect an importer from integrated GST during removal of goods from a customs area to a warehouse. "There must be cooperation between the federal government and the state government to resolve those outstanding issues", said Dr Singh.

The Finance Minister said the Chief Economic Advisor had given a detailed presentation to the states on the benefits of inclusion of real estate in the GST.

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.

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