Published: Fri, April 07, 2017
Markets | By Terence Owen

Bill to make excise, customs act compliant with GST passed in LS

Bill to make excise, customs act compliant with GST passed in LS

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.

Praful Patel of the Nationalist Congress Party expressed apprehension over the proposed "harsh punishments" in the GST Bills, and said they should be done away with to create a good atmosphere for business.

The Rajya Sabha earlier in the day passed four GST Bills without amendments setting the stage for the government to launch on July 1, the country's biggest tax reform since Independence.

The GST Bills comprises of four bills - Central Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017, Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017, Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017, and Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to the States) Bill 2017.

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.

After the passage of the bills, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley went up to Congress benches and shook hands with Manmohan Singh and other Congress leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad to thank them.

All the states will now have to pass the States GST Bill after which the new indirect tax regime can be rolled out.

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"It is a collective property in which States, political parties, central government, successive governments have all contributed to it". There will be cap rate of 40 per cent, Jaitley said. Basis the GST implementation experience in most countries, India may witness an inflationary impact during the transition phase, which should fade away with the legislation sinking in and operationalizing of measures like anti-profiteering. But still, concerns were raised about the sweeping powers of the GST council, the GST network and the GST rates.

On petroleum and alcohol products, Jaitley said that we will bring petroleum into the GST, but, zero rated, till such time the Council decides to impose a rate.

Swamy said a Select Committee of the House headed by Bhupinder Yadav in its report had recommended that the government should take immediate steps to ensure that non-governmental shareholding in GSTN is limited to state- owned banks or public sector financial institutions.

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

In the current GSTN structure, the Centre and the states together hold 49 per cent stake and the rest is owned by private banks and financial institutions.

The GST Bill was first proposed by the former finance minister of India P. Chidambaram during the 2006-07 budget in the UPA government.

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