GST council likely to clear final draft for GST bill

16 March 2017

The GST council headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley will meet today on a two-day session to look into the draft bill that deals with levying goods and services tax in union territories and, probably, finalise the draft for the final goods and services tax bill to be tabled in Parliament.

The council has approved two other draft bills - central GST and integrated GST and another one on possible compensation to the states is ready.

The two main bills aim to create a state-wise single registration for a taxpayer for filing returns, paying taxes and to fulfil other compliance requirements.

Most of the requirements would be fulfilled online leaving very little room for physical interface between the taxpayer and taxman.

The bills have incorporated an ''anti-profiteering'' provision to ensure that the reduction of tax incidence is passed on to the consumers. Farmers, however, have been kept out of the GST regime altogether.

The government plans to roll out the GST from 1 July after missing many deadlines.

The ruling BJP has issued a three-line whip, asking its members to be present in Parliament for the next three days of the second half of the budget session, hinting at the probability of introduction of the crucial GST bills in Parliament.

The GST is designed to unify India into a single market, shore up tax revenues and accelerate economic growth by at least 2 percentage points in the medium term.

Government sources said the GST legislation is likely to be taken up as money bills during the budget session, which restarted on 9 March after a month-long recess.

Money bills can't be rejected by the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling BJP in in a minority.

The proposed GST will have four tax slabs. Farmers and small traders are exempt.

The GST council has broadly approved the four-slab structure of 5 per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent and 28 per cent. But some items that have a negative impact on health and society will be charged at a higher rate.

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