The Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed four supplementary legislations which will enable the government to rollout the landmark Goods and Services Tax Bill on July 1.
Last month, the Lok Sabha had approved the Central GST (CGST), Integrated GST (IGST), Union Territory GST (UTGST) and the Compensation to states law bills.
During a lengthy 8-hour debate in the Rajya Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley assured everyone that GST will not lead to inflation, as was being feared by some people. "It is because multiple GST rates have been introduced", he said.
Touted as the biggest indirect tax reform since independence, GST would subsume central excise, service tax and other local levies.
In terms of goods, where an exemption/ lower rate is prescribed for essential goods, GST is expected to marginally better the house economics as a whole.
He said the small businessmen who commit offences in their business dealings should be given relaxation in the first year of the GST implementation.
Earlier, replying to the debate on the four bills in the Rajya Sabha, Jaitley said that goods that are now exempt from taxes at present will remain so once the GST is implemented.
Under the GST, for one commodity there will be only one tax rate in the country.
The integrated GST Bill 2017 provides for the levy and collection of tax on inter-state supply.
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The GST Council will also take decisions regarding inclusion of petroleum products and alcohol in the GST network, one by one, in the foreseeable future. Today, constitutionally, petroleum products are under GST, but will be zero rated.
"Given the fact that these rules are yet to be finalized and classification of products under various rate slabs is still unknown, industry has requested that [the Indian government] consider September 1 as the date of implementation", Prateek Jain, direct tax committee chairman of the New Delhi-based Associated Chambers of Commerce, told Bloomberg BNA in an e-mail April 5.
"We are looking at July 1 roll out".
"The moment we set this practice, we can forget GST.Let us not unilaterally upset the federal arrangement". He said, besides making any information public, will have penal consequences.
The Centre owns 24.5 per cent stake in GSTN, state governments own another 24.5 per cent, while the HDFC, NSE Strategic Investment Corporation, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank own 10 per cent each.
He hoped that the "bipartisan cooperation" extended by the Congress and the "consensus" displayed on the GST would "become a norm and not be an exception".
The Finance Minister said the Chief Economic Advisor had given a detailed presentation to the states on the benefits of inclusion of real estate in the GST. Jairam Ramesh of Congress and D. Raja of the Communist Party of India both supported his view.
Regarding audit by the CAG, he said the apex auditor draws powers from the Constitution and can scrutinise whether the respective departments are working according to the norms. Since this is a Money Bill, so just like the Finance Bill that we passed some amendments, it will show that they don't have majority in the House.
The All India Tax Advocates' Forum (AITAF) has called for deferring GST system by at least a quarter.