New Dehi: The Lok Sabha passed three crucial Bills on Monday, despite pandemonium created by members of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiromani Akali Dal.
The Opposition parties relented only for the legislative business, before forcing yet another adjournment over police firing in West Bengal’s Nandigram district.
The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2007, seeks to amend the Central Sales Tax (CST) Act, 1956, and the Additional Duties of Excise (Goods of Special Importance) Act, 1957. The Bill proposes to phase out CST in four stages by 31 March 2010. That will pave the way for an integrated goods and services tax, from 1 April 2010. The states will be compensated for any revenue loss on this account through monetary as well as non-monetary measures.
Union finance minister P. Chidambaram said CST, being an origin-based tax, was inconsistent with the value-added tax (VAT), which is a destination-based tax. VAT has been implemented by all states except Uttar Pradesh.
The Bill proposes to drop tobacco from the list of declared goods, and allow states to levy VAT on the commodity at a rate higher than 4%, which is applicable for declared goods.
The Lok Sabha also approved the National Tax Tribunal (Amendment) Bill, 2007, which proposes that no member of the tribunal would be transferred by the Union government without its chairman’s nod.
Further, the Bill seeks to allow representation by an authorized chartered accountant or a legal practitioner before the tribunal.
The National Rural Employment Guarantee (Extension to Jammu and Kashmir) Bill, 2007, was also approved by the Lok Sabha. Rural development minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said the Act was being amended at the request of the state government.