Lok Sabha takes up GST bills for debate

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday moved four GST Bills simultaneously for consideration and passage in the Lok Sabha.

“The four bills are being taken together because the matter of the bills are same,” Jaitley said while introducing the bills.

“Before the constitutional amendment, under the indirect tax regime, the Centre had the right for implementing some taxes…. The discussion had been on for long for uniform tax system under which states and the Centre will share the tax collection,” he said.

Deliberating on the federal structure of the GST Council — which is responsible for deciding on the drafts of these four bills — he said that it was the first federal institution by way of pooled sovereignty as it had representation from the Centre and all states and union territories.

“GST Council is the first federal institution. We have to make sure the federal institution works. It has the delicate balance of Centre and state relationship. While we are free to make recommendations to the Council, at the same time we need to honour the federal structure formed by way of pooled sovereignty,” he said.

GST is inching closer to a pan-India implementation from July 1, with rules relating to registration, payment, returns and in-voice refunds having already been approved. The remaining rules dealing with composition and valuation will be discussed in the Council’s March 31 meeting, he added.

Jaitley said the fitment of commodities into tax brackets will start next month onwards. There will be a zero per cent tax slab for essential food items, apart from which there are four rate slabs – 5 per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent and 28 per cent.

The Finance Minister said that luxury goods or sin commodities, which have adverse effect on health will call for approximately the same effective taxation rate.

Currently if a luxury vehicle has 40 per cent tax and cigarette has 65 per cent tax, they will be put in the 28 per cent slab and the remaining difference will be charged as cess to compensate states for any revenue loss, Jaitley said.

The Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Bill, 2017, along with three other GST Bills were moved for consideration in the lower house.

The CGST Bill will enable levy and collection of tax on intra-state supply of goods and services or both by the central government, while the Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) Bill, 2017, provides for the levy and collection of tax on inter-state supply.

The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation) provides for compensation to the states for the loss of revenue arising on account of implementation of the GST.

The Union Territory Goods and Services Tax (UTGST) Bill, 2017, will enable levy and collection of tax on intra-state supply of goods and services or both by the union territories.