GST Bill gets President's approval and becomes a Law

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  1. Manoj Mehra

    Manoj Mehra Active Member

    The much-awaited Goods and Services Tax now becomes a law with President Pranab Mukherjee signing the bill after 16 states ratified it.

    With the President's assent, the focus now shifts to the enabling acts, which have to be passed in the Centre and the states. Sixteen of the country's 31 states have already ratified the GST.

    The government plans to roll out the new indirect tax regime from April 1, 2017. GST, the biggest tax reform since Independence, will create uniform market for seamless movement of goods and services with one tax rate.

    With the President giving his assent to the bill, the government will notify the GST Council. Union Finance Minister will head the Council, which will comprise state Finance Ministers.

    The GST is a single indirect tax which will subsume most of the central and state taxes such as Value Added Tax (VAT), excise duty, service tax, central sales tax, additional customs duty and special additional duty of customs.

    The Parliament had on August 8 passed the bill which was then circulated to state governments seeking its ratification. A Constitution amendment bill needs to be ratified by the legislative Assemblies of at least 50 per cent of the states.

    The bill was sent to the President's secretariat after as many as 17 states, BJP-ruled Assam being the first, ratified the bill.

    The other states which have passed the legislation include Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Nagaland, Maharashtra, Haryana, Sikkim, Mizoram, Telangana, Goa, Odisha and Rajasthan.

    Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia had recently said that the government is ahead of schedule for implementation of GST.

    "Instead of 30 days kept for this (states' ratification), it is achieved in 23 days," he had said in a tweet.

    Now that the bill has got Presidential assent, the government will notify the GST Council, which will decide on the tax rate. Headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the Council will comprise state Finance Ministers.

    The states and the Centre are working overtime and talking to stakeholders to draft the Central GST, State GST and Integrated GST laws, which are to be passed in the Winter Session of Parliament.

    The CGST and IGST will be drafted on the basis of the model GST law. The states will draft their respective State GST (SGST) laws with minor variation incorporating state-based exemptions. The IGST law would deal with inter-state movement of goods and services.
     
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