Debate on GST Bill begins in Rajya Sabha


The Lok Sabha had passed the GST Constitution Amendment Bill in May previous year. The GST is a uniform indirect tax levied on goods and services that will be levied across the country and replace all the various taxes that are now levied on goods and services.

Appreciating political parties for showing unanimity in passing the bill in the Upper House, he said, "it is an important legislation and divided Parliament passing the country would not benefit the country".

Recalling the history of GST, he said in 2003 the Kelkar committee had suggested that structural changes should be brought about in the indirect tax regime.

"There was a delay, but most of the political parties came on one platform".

With the government enjoying a majority in the Lok Sabha, the amendments are expected to be passed easily, but not before opposition parties yet again use the discussion to mark their position on the landmark bill.

Aiming for early implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), senior Union ministers have spoken to chief ministers of NDA-ruled states to ensure that the constitutional amendment is ratified by state assemblies at the earliest.

After its passage in the Lok Sabha, the Bill will go to the state assemblies for ratification.

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The GST Bill has to be ratified by at least 16 states in 30 days after it is passed by Parliament.

As is known, in respect of money Bills the Upper House does not have an interventionist role and, therefore, the government, which does not have the numbers there, will prefer to pose the two Bills as money Bills and spare it of headache in getting them passed by going through the strenuous process of consensus-building.

The GST will replace a raft of different state and local taxes with a single unified value added tax system turning India into world's biggest single market. After the bill is passed in the Lok Sabha, state legislatures too have to pass bills approving the GST.

"We are for GST", he said, adding that it should have become a reality a long ago.

The Finance Minister said that after the GST comes into place the tax base is likely to increase as it will improve ease of doing business and mitigate tax evasion and tax cascading effect.

A GST council will be formed with states and the centre as members.