Parl clears decks for GST rollout from July 1

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Praful Patel of the Nationalist Congress Party expressed apprehension over the proposed "harsh punishments" in the GST Bills, and said they should be done away with to create a good atmosphere for business.

Parliament today cleared the decks for the rollout of the historic Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 1 as it approved four supporting legislations to usher in the one-nation-one-tax regime.

"The house has passed the four bills related to Goods and Services Tax (GST) and these are being discussed in the upper house".

"Although the GST is scheduled to be implemented with effect from July 1, the new tax rollout should be delayed by at least a quarter as industry, especially small-time assesees, would require time to prepare themselves to migrate to the new tax regime", AITAF President M.K. Gandhi said in a statement here. "I fear... we will be creating a machine, a monster and I am not saying that it will be a Financial Frankenstein", Sampath said.

If the government keeps the Service Tax at the model GST rate of 18 per cent, it will translate into a 3.5 per cent increase, which will be "hugely inflationary", he said. "This Bill, I have no hesitation in conceding, is a collective property", he said. "It will become hard to implement", Jaitley said but O'Brien did not relent. He also informed that Jammu and Kashmir government has agreed to bring a legislation in its assembly to get its extension to that State.

CPI leader D Raja said increasing the slabs of indirect taxes will put a burden on common people.

In the Rajya Sabha, however the party made a decision to support the government, sources said, because it did not want to be seen as a spoke in the development story, particularly since it authored GST.

It will subsume all the existing indirect taxes levied by the Centre and states under one single tax.

"Parliament can not be ignored", he said, suggesting that the GST should be audited by the comptroller and auditor general.

The GST Bill was first proposed by the former finance minister of India P. Chidambaram during the 2006-07 budget in the UPA government.

Highlighting the federal structure of the Council, Jaitley said 32 representatives from the Centre and states are finalising the GST rules.

"But, even worse than that is the fact that both in the Central GST and the State GST, the tax rate can be up to a maximum of 20 per cent, which means, theoretically speaking, for any good or service, you can have a maximum rate of 40 per cent".

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