Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday met CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and sought Left parties' support on an amendment to be moved by Jairam Ramesh to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bills in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. These have been already passed by the Lok Sabha and they being the "money bills" only require consideration by the Rajya Sabha and not the passage. It is the country's biggest tax reform since 1947.
He further added that a July 1 rollout was likely, saying that the final rules and rates will be approved on May 17, 18. The GST proposes a lower 5%, two standard tax rates of 12 and 18%, and a peak rate of 28%.
Besides, GST compensation law allows for imposition of cess on certain luxury goods like tobacco, high-end cars and aerated drinks to create a fund for compensating states for any loss of revenue in the first five years after implementing the new indirect tax.
Replying to a debate, termed by Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien as "super", Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said petroleum products could be included in the GST ambit if there is a consensus on it in the GST Council. Jaitley had significant step forward had been taken by the central government in this regard.
Again depending on the current supply chain structure and related indirect taxes, a commoner could expect a 2% to 3% plus or minus impact on white goods like televisions, washing machines, stoves, etc. "The present status quo will continue", he said.
Other commodities would be fitted into the nearest tax bracket, he said. He also informed that Jammu and Kashmir government has agreed to bring a legislation in its assembly to get its extension to that State.
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He said the GSTN has been designed in such a manner that it can not be audited by CAG and RTI too does not apply to it.
The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2017 seeks to amend the Customs Act, 1962, the Customs Tariff Act, 1975, the Central Excise Act, 1944, the Finance Act, 2001 and the Finance Act, 2005. "There must be cooperation between the federal government and the state government to resolve those outstanding issues", said Dr Singh.
On the anti-profiteering provisions, he said these are meant to ensure that the benefits of reduction in tax rates are passed on to the consumers.
He said the present structure was created to hire the best talent pool as the entity would be handling billions of vouchers every month.
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.