NEW DELHI: The GST Council on Thursday paved the way for rolling out the new tax regime from July, clearing all legislations required for one of the most ambitious reform measures since Independence. The council, which met in the national capital, approved the state GST (SGST) and the union territory GST (UTGST) bills.
The bills will now have to be cleared by Parliament and state assemblies. "We will try and do that expeditiously," finance minister Arun Jaitley said after Thursday's meeting of the council, which has representatives from all states. Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia said a July rollout now looked feasible. The GST Council has approved rules and regulations on registration, payments, refund, invoice and returns, but these may require minor corrections, Jaitley said. The council will meet again on March 31 to approve regulations on composition, valuation, input tax credit and transitions.
Plan to take up fitment of slabs after Mar 31: FM
The government is expected to seek cabinet approval for the central GST (CGST), integrated GST (IGST), UTGST and compensation bills next week and hopes to get it approved by Parliament in the ongoing Budget session. State cabinets will examine the SGST bill and seek approval of the respective assemblies. Once the rules and regulations are approved by the council, the most crucial issue of assigning tax slabs to various commodities would be up for approval. "Once that is done, we will be ready for GST implementation We intend to immediately after March 31...take up the exercise of fitment of slabs," Arun Jaitley said. "We will have a sufficient buffer in terms of time between the entire preparatory exercise and July 1 date fixed for implementation," he said, adding that the progress was in the "right direction". GST has been identified as a top reform priority by the Modi government and its implementation, after having missed several deadlines, is expected to add to the government's reform credentials and help raise the country's attractiveness for foreign investors while cleaning up the messy indirect tax structure. GST has been in the works for over a decade but a consensus had eluded the Centre and the states.
"Now everything is in place," J&K finance minister Haseeb Drabu said on Thursday. Tax experts too cheered the move. "With the clearance of SGST and UTGST bills by the GST council, the decks are cleared for introduction of the GST law in Parliament and assemblies.
This is a resounding reiteration from the government about their seriousness to introduce GST by July 1," said Sachin Menon, national head of indirect tax at consultancy firm KPMG. "Clearance of the model GST law is a warning bell for those who have not yet commenced their preparations for introduction of GST. It will be too short a time for the industry for preparation if the states are not passing GST law latest by the second half of April." GST will harmonise 11 state and central levies into a national sales tax. The tax reform will subsume central and state levies such as excise duty, additional duties of customs, service tax, value added tax, central sales tax, entry tax, octroi and luxury tax.