The Parliament today debates the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill which would bring the country under single tax net for the first time. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tabled the Bill on Monday and is hopeful of its implementation from July 1.
After independence, GST would be the biggest tax reform. GST will subsume a host of indirect taxes levied by the Centre and states, including excise duty, VAT, service tax, entry, luxury and entertainment levies.
The government would want to pass the long-pending legislation on March 29-30. The Parliament is likely to have almost a seven-hour long discussion on the GST, which was started around 12 o' clock in Lok Sabha and is expected to countinue late evening.
After the passing of all the four bills, passage for a state GST will be needed in all state assemblies in order to implement the unified tax regime.
Here are all the key developments related to the flagship bill:
4:10 PM: In a response to Kapil Sibbal, Arun Jaitley said that they are assuming property transactions and election happens only in cheques. Calls it a "wrong hypothesis".
4:00 PM: Arun Jaitley speaks about Finance Bill in Rajya Sabha
3:45 PM: "The Finance Minister has forced me to do something that I didn't want to do. He has forced me to get an Aadhaar number," says Jairam Ramesh of Congress in Rajya Sabha
3:42 PM: Speaker tells Mulayam Singh Yadav, "Please come back to GST."
3:35 PM: You have such a huge mandate in Uttar Pradesh, you have to deliver. If you don't deliver, people of UP will show you: Mulayam Singh Yadav
3:40 PM: Will there be any law to stop suicides due to poverty, asks Mulayam Singh
3:40 PM: Samajwadi leader, Mulayam Singh Yadav speaks in Lok Sabha
3:25 PM: India is an agrarian economy, GST Bill doesn't affect agriculture, but cost of agricultural inputs will go up: AIADMK's TG Venkatesh Babu
3:10 PM: CPI-M lawmaker Mohammad Salim speaking in Lok Sabha on the GST Bill
3:00 PM: Digvijaya Singh brings up the issue of Aadhaar details of MS Dhoni being made public in Rajya Sabha
2:45 PM: K V Reddy of TRS says the GST bill is a mixed bag
2:40 PM: We are sitting here to make history and I am happy to be a part of this historic occasion: Jaidev Galla, TDP MP from Guntur.
2:30 PM: Shiv Sena MP from Amravati is speaking now. He says the party supports the Centre on GST. He asks why alcohol and petroleum products have been excluded from the GST.
2:08 PM: Finance Bill is being discussed in Rajya Sabha
2:00 PM: Kalyan Banerjee (AITC): Mamata Banerjee had accepted GST in 2009. West Bengal wanted an integrated tax regime.
1:13 PM: Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2 PM for lunch; Discussion on Finance Bill in the next session.
1:09 PM: Cong leader Moily says in the Lok Sabha, "Tax payer will have to file multiple forms, multiple returns. Finance Minister must clarify how govt will simplify compliance".
1:06 PM: This is a very serious matter, just don't take shelter under constitutional amendment: says Veerappa Moily, Congress in Lok Sabha
1:03 PM: Cong leader Moily says, "It is not clear how the categorisation of the 90:10 divide for companies with turnover below Rs. 1.5 crore will be done. Categorisation of goods also needs to be done. For example, is Kitkat a chocolate or a biscuit? Is coconut oil considered as hair oil or cooking oil?"
1:00 PM: What you have brought today is not a game changer but only a baby step: Veerappa Moily,Congress in Lok Sabha
12:59 PM: There are too many tax rates one-nation, one-tax regime is only a myth, says Moily
12:57 PM: GST is unprecedented, transformative measure: Moily
12:55 PM: Entry tax is not clear with respect to merger of taxes with GST, says Veerappa Moily
12:52 PM: The anti-profiteering clause of GST is far too draconian: Congress' Veerappa Moily
12:50 PM: Congress leader Moily says there is no clarity on excise free zone under GST regime
12:48 PM: This game changer law was envisioned by the UPA government, somehow opposition parties at that time halted it: Veerappa Moily
12:40 PM: Congress leader Veerappa Moily begins the debate in Lok Sabha
12:39 PM: GST council is India's first federal institution where sovereignty of Centre and state has been pooled, says Arun Jaitley
12:39 PM: Seven hour debate on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill begins in the Parliament
12:30 PM: "The Compensation law is for compensating the states for any loss they might incur for the first five years of GST," says Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, introducing four GST Bills.
The Government presented the GST bill as a a Money Bill in Lok Sabha, according to the procedure, Money bills passed by the Lok Sabha are sent to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house may not amend money bills but can recommend amendments.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has returned from the abroad and held a meeting with key leaders to chalk out a staretgy. The Congress led opposition decided that it would not accept GST amendment Bill in its present form and press for more amendments in the Rajya Sabha.
The passage of the bill would not be a smooth road for the goverment as many MPs already protested the way in which Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tabled the bill. They alleged that the Centre did not give them enough time to study the proposed legislation.
On Tuesday, the proceedings of Rajya Sabha were adjourned for the entire day after the furore over the introduction of the tax regime bill.
However, terming the Bill as 'revolutionery' finance minister, Arun Jaitley is expecting that the CGST and the three related bills would pass with a consensus in the Parliament.
The GST Bill which was introduced in the Parliament on Monday would provide for a maximum tax rate of 40 per cent. It would also enable the anti-profiteering authority that will benefit the consumers in form of lower taxes. If implemented, the GST also has a provision of setting up a Consumer Welfare Fund.
Along with the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Bill, 2017 along with three other related Bills: the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The IGST Bill), The Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The UTGST Bill) and The Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to the States) Bill 2017 (The Compensation Bill) will also be debated in both the houses today.
The Central GST (CGST) bill -- one of the four legislations introduced, will merge all the indirect taxes like the service tax, excise duty, additional customs duty, special additional duty of customs, surcharges and cesses under one levy. The maximum tax rate under it would be 20 per cent.
It also states that any lease, tenancy, easement, licence to occupy land will be considered as supply of service. Also, any lease or letting out of the building, including a commercial, industrial or residential complex for business or commerce, either wholly or partly, is a supply of services as per the CGST bill. The GST bills provide that sale of land and, sale of building except the sale of under construction building will nether be treated as a supply of goods not a supply of services. Thus GST can't be levied in those supplies.
'Goods' in earlier drafts of the bills were defined as every kind of movable property other than money and securities but includes actionable claim. 'Services' were defined as anything other than goods. It was thought that GST may be levied on supply of immovable property such as Land or building apart from levy of stamp duty. But the bills presented in Parliament have now clarified this position.