GST Bill finally gets Rajya Sabha nod; govt to announce its implementation roadmap today
With Rajya Sabha approving the long-delayed GST bill, the Narendra Modi government will on Thursday announce the implementation roadmap for the national sales tax regime.
In the biggest tax reform since Independence, the national sales tax or GST Bill was yesterday approved by the Rajya Sabha to replace a raft of different state and local taxes with a single unified value added tax system to turn the country into the world’s biggest single market.
The 66-year-old Constitution, which gives power to Centre to levy taxes like excise, and empowers states to collect retail sales taxes, was amended though the 122nd Constitution Amendment Bill.
Replying to the debate, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the GST rate will be kept “as low as possible” but did not commit to a specific rate despite opposition benches pressing for it.
“We will also try and keep the rate as low as possible, certainly much lower than what the present situation is. And as compliance increases, the possibility of that rate coming down further would be there,” he said.
The tax rate, he said, would be decided by the GST Council comprising of Union Finance Minister and representatives of all 29 states.
The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha earlier. It will now go back to the Lower House to incorporate the amendments approved by the Rajya Sabha. The bill will also have to be approved by 50 per cent of all the state assemblies.