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Congress panel to review Centre’s proposed amendments on GST today

india Updated: Aug 01, 2016 12:44 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times

The government is keen to get the GST bill approved during the monsoon session of Parliament.

The fate of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill now depends on the language of the draft amendments, which the government will bring to placate the Opposition.

The first draft on the amendments will be given to the Congress on Monday. A five-member panel set up by the Congress president Sonia Gandhi will review it Monday evening.

Gandhi had formed a panel to review upcoming legislations last week. Former finance minister P Chidambaram is chairing the committee.

“We have reached a broad agreement on further amendments. Let us see how the government frames them,” said Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.

The Congress had demanded that the GST bill, which will come after the Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014, is approved by Parliament and majority of states must ring-fence the tax rate at 18%. It also wants more power for the states in the GST council.

Read| GST bill: Govt to drop 1% additional tax, compensate states for 5 yrs

Top sources in the Congress say the government has verbally agreed to address these concerns even as it has ruled out the party’s original demand to put the cap in the constitution amendment bill.

Last week, the union cabinet scrapped a provision in the proposed draft bill that allowed manufacturing states to get 1% extra tax, over and above the GST.

It also allowed states to get 100% compensation for any possible revenue loss for the first five years after the GST is rolled out. Both these changes were aimed to placate the Congress, the Left and other parties.

The Centre plans to table the GST bill in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. The proposed GST bill is likely to be circulated to MPs on Monday.

Read| Cong yet to take ‘final decision’ on GST, bill to be tabled in RS on Tuesday