Budget 2017-18: GST Council almost ready with recommendations, says finance minister

The GST Council has finalised its recommendations on almost all the issues based on consensus after spirited debate and discussions, finance minister Arun Jaitley said while presenting the General Budget for 2017-18 in Parliament today.

The finance minister said the government on its part has promptly given effect to various provisions of the Constitutional Amendment Act, including constitution of the GST Council. The GST Council has held nine meetings to discuss various issues relating to GST, including broad contours of the GST rate structure, threshold exemption and parameters for composition scheme, details for compensation to states due to implementation of GST, examination of draft model GST law, draft IGST law and the compensation law and administrative mechanism for GST. He said the preparation of IT system for GST is also on schedule.

Jaitley in his budget speech further said that the extensive reach-out efforts to trade and industry for GST will start from 1 April 2017 to make them aware of the new taxation system. He said that since the enactment of the Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016, there has been substantial progress on preparatory work towards ushering in GST, which is by far the biggest tax reform since Independence.

Several teams of officers both from the states and the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) have been working to give finishing touch to the Model GST Law, rules and other details, he added.

Jaitley said the government, through the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) will continue to strive to achieve the goal of implementation of GST as per schedule without compromising the spirit of co-operative federalism. He added that the implementation of GST is likely to bring more taxes both to central and state governments because of widening of tax net.

The finance minister stated that not many changes have been proposed in current regime of excise and service tax in the budget proposals since they are to be replaced by GST soon.