Finance Minister Arun Jaitley speaks in the Lok Sabha in New Delhi on Wednesday. (PTI)
In a historic move today the Lok Sabha has passed the four (supplementary) GST Bills that were tabled by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. This came in the wake of an over 8-hour marathon session in the House that was marked by a lot of tug and pull as the Opposition tried to catch the government off guard as well as point out weaknesses that have been overlooked in its various proposals. However, FM Jaitley allayed the fears expressed by all and said that the government has taken all precautions to ensure that the country gets the best possible law that will be applicable on the entire country.
Speaking earlier, FM Jaitley said the tax rates will be kept at the current levels so as not to have any inflationary impact. Introducing four bills to give effect to the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Jaitley had said the legislations will have to be passed by Parliament and one by each of the state assemblies to turn India into one market with a single tax rate.
GST बिल पास होने पर सभी देशवासियों को बधाई | नया साल, नया कानून, नया भारत!
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 29, 2017
With the passage of the four supplementary legislations the GST regime has come one step closer to meet its July 1, 2017 rollout deadline target. The Central GST Bill, 2017; The Integrated GST Bill, 2017; The GST (Compensation to States) Bill, 2017; and The Union Territory GST Bill, 2017 were passed today but not before facing some hurdles in the form of amendments moved by the opposition parties, but they were rejected.
Speaking on the issue earlier Jaitley said the GST will have a big impact on the Indian economy as it will usher in a uniform indirect pan-India tax regime across the country, and will also make commodities “slightly cheaper”. Among the positives that Jaitley highlighted stemming from the passage of the GST Bill and its implementation thereafter was that the harassment of businesses by authorities concerned, which is a big negative in India, will end and there will be just one rate for one commodity no matter in which region of the nation they were.
Explaining how some prices may fall after GST is implemented, Jaitley said: “Today you have tax on tax, you have cascading effect. When all of that is removed, goods will become slightly cheaper”. Jaitley also explained the opting of multiple GST rates by the government by saying that one rate would be ‘highly regressive’ simply because a ‘hawai chappal and BMW cannot be taxed at the same rate’.