LS passes landmark GST reform with amendments, amid Oppn protests

Posted March 30, 2017

Four GST legislations are Central GST, Integrated GST, Union Territory GST and Compensation GST.

Earlier this morning, finance minister Arun Jaitley opened the GST debate in the Lok Sabha.

The CGST Bill will enable levy and collection of tax on intra-state supply of goods and services or both by the central government, while the Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) Bill, 2017, provides for the levy and collection of tax on inter-state supply. He also justified the anti-profiteering clause in the Bills, saying that the benefits of tax rebates have to be passed onto the consumers.

PM Modi immediately tweeted hailing the passage of the bill saying,"greetings to all fellow countrymen, new year, new laws, new India!"

He added: "The law that we are dealing with.Even though Parliament and State legislatures have plenary power to legislate but this is a unique experience of Indian legislatures because ordinarily they legislate in areas which exclusively belongs to the domain of Parliament or domain of the state legislatures". He added that the food items will have the zero rates, while the sin commodities will have the highest rate of 28 per cent along with a cess for the five years.

Explaining why the GST Council had set multiple tax rates, he said that a "hawai chappal" and a BMW can not be taxed at the same rate.

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All the GST laws have been clubbed together and are being presented as Money Bill that does not necessarily require approval from Rajya Sabha.

"Before the constitutional amendment, under the indirect tax regime, the Centre had the right for implementing some taxes".

Initiating a discussion on the four GST bills in the Lok Sabha, Congress leader Veerappa Moily said what the NDA government has brought about in the name of a "revolutionary tax reform is not a game changer but only a baby step".

The government's ambitious plan to subsume a set of taxes into a single nationwide tax has been known, until now, for its ability to stall Parliament and stir opposition.

Supply of goods or services to an employee without consideration, when made in the course of furtherance of business, is taxable under GST. He also stated that the petroleum products have similarly been included for the futuristic goal and upon consensus among the states it could also be brought into the ambit of the GST network with administrative decision without needing amendment in the laws.

Referring to functioning of the GST council, he said all the parties need to adopt positive approach as the system may badly hit if the contracting parties take "unilateral decisions".