The government will try to get the constitutional amendment bill on goods and services tax (GST) passed in the current session of Parliament, finance minister Arun Jaitley today said.
However, the issue of tax rates was put on the backburner to be decided by the GST Council at a later date amid protests by Tamil Nadu.
“In view of the near unanimous support of states, that it is going to be a win-win situation for all, we will go ahead with the Constitution amendment in the current session of Parliament,” Jaitley said at a meeting of the empowered committee of state finance ministers on GST.
“States are quite determined and they see the obvious benefits of GST. The concerns cut across party lines and it is a genuine relationship between the Centre and states. Broadly, the approach of the states and Centre is converging in the same direction,” he said.
GST is a uniform tax regime, which will snuff out a host of central and state levies on the production and sale of goods and services. However, the most contentious issue of tax rates was skirted at the meeting.
“We see no obstacles that will interfere with the April 1, 2016 timeline for GST,” minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha said. Besides passage in Parliament, the bill will require ratification by half of the state Assemblies. The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in December 2014.
However, the bill was opposed by M. C. Sampath, minister for commercial taxes and registration of Tamil Nadu.
Sampath objected to the powers being given to the GST Council, which he felt was against the spirit of federalism and impacted the autonomy of states on financial matters.
Source: The TelegraphIndia