Decks cleared for GST roll out in July, Lok Sabha gives green signal

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All four GST Supplementary Bills passed in Lok Sabha
All four GST Supplementary Bills passed in Lok Sabha

New Delhi : The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the much-awaited Central Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, Integrated GST Bill, Compensation GST Bill and Union Territory GST Bill 2017, after negating all the amendments put forward by the Opposition.

The four GST Bills were passed after an eight-hour marathon debate in the Lower House.  The government is targeting the roll-out date of July 1 for the new indirect tax regime.

Jaitley said that goods may become "slightly cheaper" once all other taxes are removed after implementation of GST.

Replying to a debate on the four bills in the Lok Sabha, he said all other taxes like entry tax in states will be removed once the GST is in place.

"Once all other taxes are removed, the cascading effect is removed, goods will become slightly cheaper," he said.

Noting that both the central and state governments are pooling their sovereignty to have this tax regime, Jaitley noted that India, despite being one political entity, remained different economic entities with states having different taxes.

"Centre and states both pooled sovereignty into one Council. It is India's first federal decision making authority," he said.

Clarifying on the tax rate on petroleum products in the regime, Jaitley said that the Council has decided that the petroleum products though they have been included under GST, will remain zero rated as of now.

"The Council decided that we will take up the issue of petroleum products in a year after implementation of GST. Today, constitutionally petroleum products are under GST, but will be zero rated. So once Council decides it can be taxed under GST, we won't need to amend the Constitution," he said.

Jaitley said that once implemented GST will have a significant impact on the taxation system as the entire system will be restructured.

He said that the nature of economic activity today is changing and the objective of GST is to have "free flow of goods and services pan-India, with one tax and one interface with one assessing officer".

"The IT backbone must be such that self assessments happen in maximum cases," he added.

The system will be more efficient, which is not easy to breach and has higher compliance, Jaitley said.