Cabinet okays GST Council, first meeting on Sept 22

Cabinet okays GST Council, first meeting on Sept 22

Panel given two months to decide on rate structure

Cabinet okays GST Council, first meeting on Sept 22

The government on Monday gave the go ahead to setting up a Goods and Services Council to decide on the most contentious issue of the rate of taxation in the new indirect tax regime.

The council has been given two months, from its first meeting on September 22, to decide on the rate structure. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the setting up of the GST Council and its secretariat.

Talking to reporters, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said the government is ahead of schedule on the GST roll out and is all geared up to meet the April 1, 2017, deadline.
“Now, it is for the GST Council to thrash out all the issues. We have set a time limit of two months for discussion and a final decision on all major aspects. Now, whether that is going to be feasible, we have to watch and see.

“So, from September 22 to November 22, it should be a reasonable time for discussing and thrashing out major issues,” he said.

Legislations
The government is planning to introduce GST legislations — Central GST (CGST) and Integrated GST (IGST) — in the Winter Session of Parliament in November.

States have the flexibility to nominate either the finance, taxation or any other minister to the GST Council, Adhia said, adding that he has already written to the state chief secretaries in this regard.

“The GST Council will decide whether the rate would form part of the CGST Bill. Two committees have already given their report, based on which we will put up an agenda before the GST Council. Then the council will deliberate and decide,” the revenue secretary said.

Cong’s demand
Fearing a loss in revenue, states want the GST rate to be as high as 20%, whereas the Opposition Congress is demanding it be fixed at 18%. Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian too is in favour of a lower GST tax rate regime for better compliance.
 

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