Rajya Sabha passes four GST Bills

The return of four Bills on the Goods and Services Tax to the Lok Sabha by the Rajya Sabha on Thursday without recommending any amendments brought the idea of "one country-one tax" closer to reality.

Before returing the bills, it rejected all the amendments moved by the TMC and CPI (M).

The Union Cabinet approved the four GST-related Bills on March 20.

The Congress did not put a spanner and allowed the Rajya Sabha on Thursday to pass four supplementary legislations which will enable the government to rollout the landmark Goods and Services Tax Bill on July 1.

The GST Compensation to States Bill is to provide compensation to the states for the loss of revenue that will arise on account of implementation of the GST. He said, all those items which are exempted as of now will continue to be exempted.

"I was in favour of real estate, Delhi government was in favour", Jaitley said. On GST network, Mr. Jaitley said the data is fully secured with an IT firewall.

The new tax regime will help in making India a single market as it scraps a number of different taxes and uses one tax for goods and services.

He said there is no safeguard clause and no proposal on how the government will address inflation arising out of the implementation of the GST. Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said his amendments, particularly the one on the role of GST Council, will not be pushed as former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh advised him not to do so. The government may face an inflationary impact at the time of moving from indirect taxation system to GST regime, ET report said. GST proposes a lower 5 per cent, two standard tax rates of 12 and 18 per cent and a peak rate of 28 per cent.

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. Shashi Tharoor (Congress) and A Sampath (CPM) questioned powers delegated to tax officers.

He asked the government to clarify on this provision.

About petrol being left out of the purview of the GST, he said it would lead to "complete inconsistency". It is the country's biggest tax reform since 1947. He suggested that people should also be acclimatized about the concept. But suggestions were also made that the Congress's shifting postures reflected the absence of a cohesive strategy to claim authorship of an initiative the UPA had launched. Praful Patel of the NCP wanted tobacco, petrol and electricity should be added to the list of GST. It is a collective property in which states, political parties, central government, successive governments have all contributed to it.

  • Lila Blake