Finmin working on new draft of GST Constitution Amendment Bill

Finmin working on new draft of GST Constitution Amendment Bill

New Delhi: The Finance Ministry is redrafting the Constitution Amendment Bill for rolling out GST from next fiscal after states objected to the “proposed veto power" of the Union finance minister on state taxation issues.

“We are working on redrafting of the Constitution Amendment Bill on GST. The Finance Minister is likely to approve it soon," a key Finance Ministry official told PTI.

He further said that the concerns of the states over the Finance Minister’s veto power will be addressed.

The proposed rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from the next fiscal received a setback after states on Wednesday rejected the draft Constitution Amendment Bill in its present form, as it seeks to provide veto powers to the Centre over indirect taxation matters pertaining to the states.

“This proposed draft Constitution Amendment Bill related to GST in its present form is not acceptable to the states... States in general have reservations about the Union Finance Minister having any veto power on state GST," Empowered Committee of state finance ministers chairman Asim Dasgupta had said.

Dasgupta had said the states are against infringement of their financial autonomy and have certain reservations on the draft bill’s provisions for the GST Council and the GST Disputes Authority.

He said the Union Finance Minister, of course, would have an exclusive authority with respect to central GST.

The states also feel the GST Disputes Authority should not find a place in the Constitution Amendment Bill and may be incorporated in GST legislations.

“So, how to handle a situation where state GST and central GST would be there will have to be appropriately and acceptably handled," he said.

The rejection had come within hours of union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee appealing in Parliament to Opposition parties and the states for their cooperation in implementing GST from the next fiscal, saying this indirect taxes reform measure will help arrest fluctuation in the general price line.

The very next day, Mukherjee allayed the fears of states, saying he doesn’t intend to be a “Super Finance Minister".

“I have no intention of becoming the super finance minister to interfere with the state GST," he had said in Parliament during debates in the two Houses.

“They (states) will have their rights and I shall have my rights... They have a responsibility to their states. That basic structure can not be altered", he said, replying to a debate in the Rajya Sabha on the price situation.