New Delhi: Moving a step closer towards implementing the goods and services tax (GST) from 1 July, the GST council on Saturday approved two crucial supporting legislations for this ambitious tax reform.
The GST council, in its eleventh meeting in New Delhi, approved the drafts of the central GST law (CGST) and the integrated GST (IGST) law. It will again meet on 16 March to clear the state GST law (SGST) and the union territory GST law (UTGST).
Once all the bills are passed by the council, the Union government will collectively take the bills to the Union cabinet for its approval. Subsequently, the bills will be tabled together in Parliament in the second half of the budget session.
To be sure, there are some minor changes that have been proposed in the drafts of the CGST and the IGST bills. The legal committee will make these changes and subsequently the drafts will be again circulated to the states in the next few days. The bills may then again come back to the council for its final nod.
In a press conference after the meeting, finance minister Arun Jaitley expressed hope that the implementation of GST from 1 July will be possible.
“Hopefully the laws will be in Parliament in this session. Once the GST council completes this round of legislative activity, then the work will start on fitment of goods and services into the various rate structures,” he said.
The IGST law, the CGST law, the UTGST law and the bill to compensate states for revenue losses arising from a transition to GST will require the approval of Parliament while the SGST law will require the nod of the state legislative assemblies.
West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra said the demands of the states for sharing of administrative powers under the IGST act have been met. “The cross empowerment will not be done by notification, will be put in as part of IGST law. I am very happy since it was a demand of states,” he said.
Pratik Jain, indirect tax leader at PwC India said approval of CGST and IGST laws by the GST council is a decisive step towards implementation of GST from July 1 this year.