FM tables enabling GST Bills in House

July 1 roll-out deadline closer to reality

FM tables enabling GST Bills in House
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday tabled the last bit of GST laws in the Lok Sabha, paving the way for the July 1 deadline for its roll-out.

The GST Bill 2017 empowers the Centre to detain and sell movable and immovable property of tax defaulters. It also gives powers to tax officials to inspect, search, seize and arrest such defaulters. Once implemented, it seeks to reduce the cost of production of goods and check inflation.

GST will harmonise the indirect tax regime in the country and free up the assesees from “disparate” tax rates by the Centre and states, Jaitley said in the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill.

“There is cascading of taxes, as taxes levied by the Centre are not available as set off against the taxes being levied by state governments,” Jaitley said as he tabled four pieces of enabling GST laws in the House — CGST, IGST, UTGST and Compensation laws.

However, the discussion on the GST laws could not begin immediately, as the Opposition parties sought time to get familiar with the provisions of the bills. The discussion will begin on Wednesday and a total of seven hours have been allotted for it in the Lower House.

Jaitley said the GST will also promote seamless movement of goods as it sought to subsume the barriers such as octroi, entry tax and check posts into a single tax, thus increasing compliance.

Provisional compensation
According to the GST (Compensation to States) Bill, the Centre will provide states with provisional compensation bi-monthly for losses arising out of its implementation, a departure from the draft GST law released in November. The draft law had provided for payment of compensation every quarter.

The bill also provides for setting up of a compensation fund by levying cess on luxury and sin goods to compensate states for an initial five years.

The Comptroller and Auditor General will audit the Compensation Fund. The minimum rate of taxation will be 5%, and the maximum at 28%. The peak tax rate will be 40%, while the peak cess will be 15% .

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