The Lok Sabha today passed Goods and Services Tax Bills rejecting amendments moved by the opposition. The Bills are related to Central GST, Integrated GST, UT GST and GST Compensation.
The Central GST deals with taxation related to Centre, integrated GST deals in taxation of inter-state movement of goods and services while the Union Territory GST Bill covers taxation in Union Territories.
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 around eight hour long debate, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the GST will replace various indirect taxes with a new tax regime which will ensure free flow of goods and services across the country. He said the goods will become slightly cheaper after multiplicity of taxes is removed.
He said the object of GST is to have one tax and each assessee with one assessing officer. Responding to members’ questions, the Minister said under the GST, for one commodity there will be only one tax rate in the country.
He said the division of powers between the centre and the states on taxes are clearly defined in the bill. Mr. Jaitley said GST council will take decision on when to bring alcohol and petroleum under GST.
On criticism of making GST as money bill, the Finance Minister said it is taxation law and there has been no single legislation imposing taxes being passed as non- money bill since 1950.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Jaitley said the tax rates will be kept at the current levels so as not to have any inflationary impact.
Initiating the discussion, M Veerappa Moily of Congress criticized the government’s move and said, the GST bill cannot be termed as a game changer. He alleged that the new legislation will lead to tax distortion between the State and Central tax administration. He also alleged that there is no anti-inflationary measures in the bill.
Udit Raj of BJP has termed the GST bill as revolutionary to transform economy of the country. He said, it will lead to put in place one nation- one tax. He said, the prices of commodities will come down after the implementation of the new tax regime. After listing out Tamil Nadu’s concerns, G Venkatesh Babu of AIADMK complimented the central government for addressing several other issues.
He said, the State is concerned about the impact of GST on its fiscal autonomy. Kalyan Bnaerjee of TMC said, the new tax regime will benefit the common man and will boost ease of doing business. He also urged the government to look into the defects if any in the bill before rolling it out. Bhartruhari Mahtab of BJD said, there is not much expectation form the GST. He also raised some issues concerning his state Odisha.
Mulayam Singh Yadav of Samajwadi Party said that his party is not opposing to the bill but giving some suggestions.
He said, a resolution should be brought in the House to ensure that no suicide take place in the country due to poverty and hunger.
Government has set a target of first of July for rollout of GST, which will subsume excise, service tax, VAT and other local levies. Once these Bills are cleared by Parliament, the states will then take the state GST Bill to their respective assemblies. S-GST has been prepared as a model of the central GST, with each state incorporating state-specific exemptions.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the countrymen on passing of GST Bill in Lok Sabha. In a tweet, Mr Modi said, it is New Year, New Bill and New India.