Rajya Sabha passes GST bills without any amendments, on schedule for July 1 rollout

Rajya Sabha passes GST bills without any amendments, on schedule for July 1 rollout
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Rajya Sabha

The Parliament on Thursday passed four legislations to pave the way for roll out of the historic Goods and Services Tax (GST) from the target date of July 1.

The Central GST Bill, 2017 (CGST); Integrated GST Bill, 2017 (IGST); GST (Compensation to States) Bill, 2017; and Union Territory GST Bill, 2017 (UTGST) were all returned by the Rajya Sabha after negation of multiple amendments moved by the opposition parties.

The Lok Sabha had passed these bills on March 29.

The bills will now be presented before the President for consent. Following which, all states will have to pass the State’s respective GST Bill after which the new indirect tax regime can be rolled out.

Replying to about 8-hour-long debate, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley insisted that the GST, which will usher in a uniform indirect tax regime in the country, will not lead to inflation as apprehended by some sections.

The rates are to be discussed by the GST Council on May 18-19.

Jaitley said once the new regime is implemented, the harassment of businesses by different authorities will end and India will be have one rate for one commodity throughout the country.

The powerful GST Council, comprising Centre and states, has recommended a four-tier tax structure – 5, 12, 18 and 28 percent.

On top of the highest slab, a cess will be imposed on luxury and demerit goods to compensate the states for revenue loss in the first five years of GST implementation.

Jaitley said the successive governments have contributed towards the GST and no one person can take credit for it.

“This Bill, I have no hesitation in conceding, is a collective property,” he said.

With implementation of the GST, revenue of the Centre, the states and the industry and trade must benefit, he added.

The GST will merge indirect central government levies like sales tax, service tax, excise duty, customs duty, surcharges and other cesses.

With PTI inputs

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