March 23, 2017

GST implementation gets a step closer; Cabinet approves draft GST bills

21 March 2017, 01:38 | Austin Hogan

PM Narendra Modi's Cabinet approves 4 GST bills, over to Parliament now

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The biggest indirect reform inched closer to becoming a reality from July, with the Union cabinet today approving four draft legislation of the goods and services tax, paving the way for their introduction in the Lok Sabha later this week as money bills. Central Goods and Service Tax (CGST), Integrated Goods and Service Tax (IGST), Union Territory Goods and Service Tax (UTGST) and Compensation Laws will be taken up by Finance Ministry to today's morning cabinet for a quick clearance.

The draft legislations include Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Bill 2017, Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) Bill 2017, Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill (UTGST) 2017 and Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to the States) Bill 2017.

The Compensation Bill provides for compensation to states for loss of revenue due to implementation of the Goods and Services Tax for five years as per Section 18 of the Constitution (101st Amendment) Act 2016.

While the C-GST will give powers to the Centre to levy GST on goods and services after Union levies like excise and service tax are subsumed, the I-GST is to be levied on inter-state supplies.

Introduction of GST will also make Indian products competitive in the domestic and worldwide markets.

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The Council has already finalised a four-tier tax structure of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent, but the model GST law has kept the peak rate at 40 per cent (20 per cent to be levied by the Centre and an equal amount by the states) to obviate the need for approaching Parliament for any change in rates in future. Once that is done, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is expected to table it in the parliament today itself. "GST Council has decided July 1 as the date of commencement of GST", the statement said. Studies show that this would have a boosting impact on economic growth.

These bills will help in rollout of the much-awaited indirect tax regime.

It is expected that the implementation of the GST laws will drive the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country up by 1-2 per cent. The Union Territory GST is akin to States Goods and Services Tax (SGST), which will be levied and collected by the states/Union territories on intra-state supply of goods or services, or both. In its previous two meetings, the GST Council had given its approval to the four legislations as also the State-GST (S-GST) bill.

As a corollary, Rastogi said: "The assesses will be better prepared for implementation".

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