India moved yet another step closer for rolling out the country’s biggest tax reform after the Lok Sabha on Wednesday approved four crucial bills required to implement Goods and Services Tax (GST).
The four bills – Central GST, Integrated GST, Union Territories GST and GST Compensation bills – were passed one by one through voice vote after almost nine hours of intense debate.
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley explained to the lawmakers the implication of the GST bills.
The CGST and IGST bills will enable the Centre to levy and collect taxes across the country.
The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) provides for compensation to the states for the loss of revenue arising on account of implementation of the GST.
The Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017, will enable levy and collection of tax on intra-state supply of goods and services or both by the union territories.
Watch this space for Live updates:
9:32pm: Several amendments were moved but none of them were passed: Adhia
9:31 pm: The July deadline is possible. We have promised businesses that there will clarity on law at least 3 months before implementation. That has come from the passing of the 4 bills. GST council will pass all nine sets of rules on March 31: Adhia
9:30pm: Revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia addresses press conference, says there have been 12 meetings of the GST council in the past 6 months. 175 officers tirelessly worked to make this day possible.
9:28pm: PM Narendra Modi congratulates Indians on passage of GST Bill, says ‘New Year, New Law, New India’
8:54 pm: Lok Sabha approves GST Compensation Bill and UT-GST Bill.
8:40 pm: Lok Sabha approves CGST and IGST bills by voice vote.
8:12 pm: FM Jaitley ends speech. GST bills put up for vote. Speaker starts clause by clause voting.
7:40 pm: “A slipper (hawai chappal) and a BMW car can’t have the same tax rate. Then it will be highly regressive,” Jaitley said.
All sin products or products, which have health hazards, are taxed at 40-50%. That is why we will have a cess on sin products in the GST regime, FM said. Cess will remain for the first five years, he said.
The UPA government did not provide for a compensation package when it framed the GST Constitution Bill. The moment NDA government announced a compensation package, states agreed to the GST.
GST bills deal with taxation laws and hence introduced as money bills, Jaitley explained.
Jaitley justifies anti-profiteering clause in the GST bills.
Jaitley says he supported GST on real estate sector but the GST Council decided to keep it out of the new tax regime for the first five years.
Petroleum products can also be brought under the ambit of GST at a later stage, FM tells lawmakers in Lok Sabha.
Agricultural products are going to be “zero-rated”, Jaitley says.
7:32 pm: Jaitley says GST will be highly regressive in absence of multiple rates. Tax rates on essential food items and baby foods will have to be lower while the tax rates on luxury cars have to be higher.
Seven finance ministers of Congress-ruled states have supported GST, Jaitley tells Lok Sabha. “Every political parties have not only supported (GST bills) but are also privy to it.”
7:23 pm: Cascading impact of taxes leads to inflationary pressure., FM said referring to the present multiple taxes at the central and state levels. “Smaller taxes and day-to-day harassment has to go.”
The Centre and states will jointly decide on the GST rates.
7:23 pm: There is no free flow of goods and services in the country now, says Jaitley.
7:10 pm: Arun Jaitley, finance minister and BJP PM: Once the Bill is enacted and implemented, GST will have a “significant impact”.
6:10 pm: CN Jayadevan, CPI MP: Whatever laws are framed, it should not surpass the Constitutional provisions.
6:00 pm: NK Premachandran, RSP MP: The right of the Parliament will be taken away and the GST Council will decide on the tax rates. That is against the basic principles of the Constitution.
5:25 pm: Saugata Roy, AITC MP: “I support the GST bills with a heavy heart.” States don’t have adequate powers in the GST Council. “So where is cooperative federalism?” Businesses are totally unprepared for GST. The biggest problem of the GST regime is the GST Network (GSTN). It will be the world’s biggest technology system. And as Moily has pointed out, it will be a technology nightmare.
5:15 pm: Sushil Kumar Singh, BJP MP: The GST regime will demonstrate the cooperative federalism in India. I congratulate the GST Council for finalising all the GST rules within 12 meetings.
5:10 pm: Santosh Kumar, JD(U) MP: The government must ensure sovereignty of GST Council.
4:56 pm: Poonamben Hematbhai Maadam, BJP MP: The GST is strong step in bringing together the “haves” and the “have-nots”. Once we overcome the initial teething issues, the country will cherish under GST regime.
4:50 pm: Sirajuddin Ajmal, AIUDF MP: GST will help reduce the cost of doing business. States with higher consumption will have higher revenues under the GST regime. The anti-profiteering clause in GST bills may be used to harass businessmen.
4:45 pm: Suresh Channabasappa Angadi, BJP MP: “I am proud to say that it is a landmark reform. The GST will boost GDP growth by one-two percentage points.”
The GST regime will also lead to reduction in tax evasion, which will in turn lead to increase in revenue collection.
4:40 pm: Ram Kumar Sharma Kushwaha, RLSP MP: Petroleum products must be brought under GST. It is still not clear when it will be done.
4:31 pm: Subhash Chandra Baheria, BJP MP: GST will truly be a game changer as the country will have just one tax instead of multiple taxes. The government must also eliminate higher duties on textiles.
4:25 pm: Prem Singh Chandumajra, SAD MP: Cooperative societies, fisheries and poultries should be exempt from GST. Otherwise it will hurt the poor. The government must also exempt land lease from GST.
4:14 pm: Poonam Mahajan Rao, BJP MP: GST will help in improving India’s economic ranking. India has already surpassed Britain to become sixth largest economy globally. We must aim at the third spot, as outlined by PM Modi.
4:07 pm: Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav, RJD MP: If you can assure us that GST will lead to fall in commodity prices, I’l accept it humbly. But I can assure you the prices will not fall but rise.
3:58 pm: Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, BJP MP: This GST bill benefit in implementing PM’s slogan of ‘Sabka saath, sabka vikaas’.
3:45pm: Supriya Sule, NCP MP: GST is the need of the hour and Maharashtra is keen on implementing it. States must be empowered but are we curbing the role of Parliament by giving powers to the GST council. Has the central government thought it through?
Crores of data on businesses will be generated because of the GST-network, how will the government ensure that this is not leaked?
Maharashtra has had consecutive droughts, how will the government compensate the state? Will the cess be enough?
3:35 pm: Varaprasad Rao Velagapalli, YSRCP MP: Congratulates central government for creating consensus on all issues pertaining to GST. Implementation date of July seems difficult as industry and traders will not be ready.
3:11 pm: Mohammad Salim, CPI-M MP: We have to ensure that we are not cloning Parliament procedures through the GST council. The classification of bidis into sin and luxury products is unfair.
3:00 pm: Konda Vishweshwar Reddy, TRS MP: The bill has some khhatta, some mitha and some kadwa touch. We need to take a great leap of faith in our Finance minister and Prime minister.
2:48 pm: Jayadev Galla, TDP MP: This is a new economic era of transparency, accountability and economic welfare. India is the only country of this size of have implemented something of this scale and size. The implementation of GST should match the ever changing business dynamics.
2:35 pm: Anandrao Vithoba Adsul, Shiv Sena MP: “What is the reason why alcohol is not taken under GST. To let people consume more alcohol can’t be a reason.”
2:25 pm: In GST era, every state will have to file 31 returns every year, which goes against the ‘One nation one tax’ claim: BJD
Arun Jaitley corrects Mahtab over the date of a legislation on agriculturists being exempt from taxes. “The government needs to address farmers’ concerns on including agriculture under the ambit of GST,” says Mahtab.
Mahtab: The GST council’s wisdom will be challenged in the future if agriculture, dairy farming and other farmers are brought under the GST regime, raising questions on tax collection from the agri-economy.
2:20 pm: All of Odisha’s issues were not considered by the government. Justice wasn’t delivered (Nyay nai hua), says Mahtab, appealing to the finance minister to take up the case on entry tax that was revoked by the courts.
Odisha says coal-bearing states should benefit from cess collection -- “60% of collection should go to the coal bearing states”.
raises the issue of royalty rate on coal while the cess on clean environment tax
2:10 pm: Biju Janata Dal leader Bhartruhari Mahtab echoes TMC’s concerns against “over expectations” from GST.
“Do not expect too much from GST... it all depends on revenue neutral rate. It is uncertain if the revenue will grow next year. It is also uncertain the consumer will gain. We will get to know about its impact in a year.”
2:05 pm: We shouldn’t rush (to implement GST), warns TMC’s Kalyan Banerjee in his closing statement.
“Do not expect too much from GST... it all depends on revenue neutral rate.”
2 pm: Trinamool Congress’ Kalyan Banerjee says West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee supported GST in their election manifesto in 2016... Bengal FM was instrumental in ensuring full compensation to states under GST.
“The purpose of GST was to curtail inflation that has been done to a large extent.”
TMC pitches its support for GST but lists out concerns:
• It is imperative that sufficient time is given to build up the structures.
• Rate structure: The process of treatment of rates for different goods has to be informed to the industry.
• Preparation of GST network... this will be pivotal for the implementation of the tax system.
1:50 pm: After listing out Tamil Nadu’s concerns, Venkatesh Babu compliments the central government for addressing several other issues and calls it a “give and take” approach.
1:45 pm: AIADMK’s G Venkatesh Babu says Tamil Nadu is concerned about the impact GST will have on its fiscal autonomy.
“No GST council as a statutory body is required.”
It is clear a manufacturing state like Tamil Nadu will lose permanent revenue due to GST... Tamil Nadu should be allowed to retain 4% tax on inter-state supply of goods. This should be applicable to all transactions for the originating state: Babu
Babu talks about late Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa’s reservations against GST.
1:35 pm: We should work towards GST deadline of July 1, it will be a landmark: Finance secretary Ashok Lavasa tells ANI
1:30 pm: Udit Raj defends the legislation, says GST is not “draconian” as Veerappa Moily said. “We are talking about corruption-free India, not Congress-free India (Congress-mukt Bharat).”
1:20 pm: Market sentiments lift as Jaitley moves the GST bills for consideration of and passage in the Lok Sabha, reports IANS.
1:15 pm: BJP’s Udit Raj highlights Modi govt’s initiatives such as Make in India, Digital India. He says the BJP will dispel the doubts raised by Moily later.
GST will end the cascading impact of current taxes: Udit Raj
“GST council will not be dictated by the central government. It will work as a buffer between states and Centre.”
Countries that rolled out GST have witnessed higher economic growth, says Udit Raj, adding that an online database of taxes will increase transparency.
1:10 pm: Congress has proposed amendments so the country does not face problems after GST, Moily says in his closing statement.
1pm: A taxpayer has to file multiple forms and go through several authorities under the GST regime, says Moily, questioning Jaitley on the various tax regulations.The Congress leader alleges the government is trying to bring farmers under the tax net even though farm products are exempt.
GST can lead to a turf war between the Centre and state tax authorities, Moily mounts Congress attack on the government, adding: “The single market dream for the industry has been degenerated into five laws.”
12:55 pm: Moily continues his tirade against the BJP-led govt: “This (GST) is a technological nightmare. It will not add any incremental revenues to the govt... Refunds should have been automatic.”
- Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Bill, 2017: Levy and collection of tax on intra-state supply of goods and services or both by the central government
- Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017: Tax on inter-state supply.
- Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States): Provides compensation to states for loss of revenue due to implementation of the GST.
- Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017: Tax on intra-state supply of goods and services or both by the union territories.
Moily speaks about the role of judiciary protecting the legislature, citing Trump’s travel ban being struck down by a US court as an example. “We aren’t as vigilant, neither in judiciary nor in executive.”
12:45 pm: There are number of issues that need to be dealt with... The problems are humongous for bankers: Moily
“Anti-profiteering provision in GST Bill is draconian,” the Congress leader says, slamming the government. He criticises the govt for not bringing real estate, a sector notorious for black money generation, within the ambit of GST.
On tax rates, Moily says high GST rates will be damaging for the industries. “There are too many rates... there are seven rates. ‘One Nation One Tax’ is a myth. Nobody can call it a game-changer. It’s a small baby step forward.”
There shouldn’t be any cess, surcharge and additional duties in the GST regime: Moily
“What you have brought today (GST bills) is not a game changer but only a baby step.”
12:40 pm: M Veerappa Moily, Congress leader and chairman of standing committee on finance, starts speaking in Parliament. “Seven to eight years have passed after the previous UPA government initiated the GST bill... the country has lost Rs 12 lakh crores due to the delay.”
“Who will make up for this loss to the country?” questions Moily.
12:38 pm: GST Council is India’s first federal institution in which the sovereignty of states and Centre have been pooled together to decide on taxes. States and Centre have to work together to make this work... we will have to honour this federal institution: Jaitley
12:35 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is present in Lok Sabha.
12:30 pm: Finance minister tells Lok Sabha after introducing the bill: “GST Compensation bill will ensure compensation to states for the first five years of GST rollout... Cess over 28% to go into a compensation cess fund that will be used to compensate states.”
It is a revolutionary bill which will benefit all: FM Jaitley in Lok Sabha #GSTBill— ANI (@ANI_news) March 29, 2017
Jaitley announces pending GST rules to be finalised by March 31.
12:25 pm: “We are now creating by law a jurisdiction both in the states and the Centre,” says Jaitley as he lists out the provisions of the GST Bill.
The GST council has been empowered to fix GST rates... The council has held 12 meetings so far and it has sent its recommendations for five GST laws: FM
Jaitley says tax rates will be kept at the current levels to prevent any inflationary impact.
WATCH Arun Jaitley speaking on GST bill in Lok Sabha https://t.co/huTN2YFebe— ANI (@ANI_news) March 29, 2017
12:20 pm: Arun Jaitley rises to move a motion for passing GST bills.
Jaitley addresses LS: “The objectives of the four GST bills are same.The idea was to have a consolidated tax for states and the country. The uniform tax (GST) is aimed at replacing multitude of local and central taxes.”
Noon: Question Hour ends. Papers are being tabled by parliamentarians.
11:45 am: Arun Jaitley tells NDTV he is confident of passing GST with consensus of the House. He goes on to call GST an “unusual legislation” that is a lesson for Indian democracy.
11 am: Lok Sabha convenes for the day. Ahead of the GST debate, the Lower House discusses the issues of disrespect to national icons and flag, sale of food items at railway stations, functioning of fast track courts etc.
10:30 am: Government has asked Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan to waive off Zero Hour for GST debate, say TV reports.
(With agency inputs)