Congress to move amendments to GST bills today

The Congress party will move amendments to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bills on Wednesday, as it has concerns about some clauses in the bills and the manner of tabling those in Parliament, said a party leader on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Central GST bill, Integrated GST bill, Union Territories GST bill and the compensation law bill were approved by the cabinet.

India moved a step closer to becoming a unified market with the tabling in Parliament on Monday of the GST Bill, which extends across India except Jammu and Kashmir.

Late on Wednesday evening, the Lok Sabha passed the Bills, signalling one of Narendra Modi's biggest victories as Prime Minister in the field of reform.

This will simplify the tax procedure for both government and public.The bills will now be presented in the Rajya Sabha or Upper House of Parliament.

GST, which the government intends to roll out from July 1, will subsume central excise, service tax and state value added tax among other indirect levies on manufactured goods and services.

The Compensation Bill has been drafted 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.

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The four supporting GST legislations are the Compensation Law, the Central-GST (C-GST), Integrated-GST (I-GST) and Union Territory-GST (UT-GST).

Jaitley said once the new regime is implemented, the harassment of businesses by different authorities will end and India will be one rate for one commodity throughout the country. Elaborating on the anti-profiteering provisions, he said these are meant to ensure that the benefits of reduction in tax rates are passed on to the consumers and there should be no "unjust enrichment".

Service tax, at present, is levied on payments made for under-construction residential houses after providing abatement, which brings down the effective rate from 18 per cent to 6 per cent. "The discussion had been on for long for uniform tax system under which states and the Centre will share the tax collection", he said. States will have to pass the State GST laws in their respective assemblies. The insertion of such provisions reassures the government intent to have petroleum products under the GST net at a later stage.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs S.S Ahluwalia said the bills were uploaded on the government website March 24 at midnight.

The Finance Minister said that luxury goods or sin commodities, which have adverse effect on health will call for approximately the same effective taxation rate.

Tax experts said that now service tax is levied on rents paid for commercial and industrial units, although it is exempt for residential units.

  • Adam Floyd