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Cabinet greenflags amendments for cess removal ahead of GST

The Union Cabinet today approved amendments in the Customs and Excise Act relating to abolition of cesses and surcharges on various goods and services to facilitate implementation of GST.

The amendments in the Customs Act, 1962, allow furnishing of information relating to import or export of goods by specified persons to enable analysis and detection of cases of under or over-valuation in imports and exports.

It also aims to check misuse of export promotion schemes, including the Drawback Scheme, and violations of the provisions of the Customs Act and various other laws under which Customs officials have been authorised to implement these laws.

"Amendments or repeal of various provisions of other Acts which will no longer be relevant consequent on rollout of GST will result in cleansing of the irrelevant portions from the Statute Book and reduce multiplicity of taxes," an official release said after the Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Cabinet has approved amendment to the Customs Act, 1962, the Customs Tariff Act, 1975 and the Central Excise Act, 1944.

It also approved repeal of the Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985 and amendment or repeal of the provisions relating to Acts under which cesses are levied.

Earlier this week, the Cabinet had cleared four legislations for implementing GST as the government sprints to meet the July 1 launch schedule of the indirect tax reform, which can add up to 2 per cent to India's economic growth.

The Bills on compensating states for any loss of revenue from the GST rollout in the first five years as well as those enabling levy of the new tax on intra- or inter-state movement of goods and services will be introduced in Parliament this week.

The approval of Parliament, along with that of all state Assemblies, will complete the legislative process for the one-nation-one-tax regime through merger of central taxes such as excise duty and service tax and state levies including VAT.

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