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Posted On : 20 Mar, 2017  Source : PTI  Place : New Delhi 
Cabinet clears GST draft bills; reform to boost growth by 2%
The Cabinet today cleared four legislations for implementing GST as the government sprints to meet the July 1 schedule to rollout the indirect tax reform which can add up to 2 per cent to India's economic growth.

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

The approval of Parliament, coupled with a separate one by all State Assemblies, will complete the legislative process for the roll out of one-nation-one-tax regime by merging central taxes like excise duty and service tax as well as state levies like VAT.

The GST Council has already approved four-tier tax slabs of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent plus an additional cess on demerit goods like luxury cars, aerated drinks and tobacco products.

The work on for putting various goods and services in different slabs is slated to begin next month.

"The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the four GST related bills -- The Central Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 (The CGST Bill), 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)," an official statement said.

These will be introduced as Money Bills in the Lok Sabha this week.

"It could be even today," a source said, adding that discussion on the four legislations could happen together.

The GST legislations were the only agenda in today's Cabinet meeting.

"The passage of these four GST related bills will pave the way for the biggest reform in the area of indirect taxes in the history of independent India," said the statement.

With the Cabinet approval of these four bills, the GST regime in India is in the final stages of culmination and the GST law will most likely be implemented from July 1, it said.

The statement further said: "Introduction of GST would also make Indian products competitive in the domestic and international markets. Studies show that this would have a boosting impact on economic growth.

"It is expected that the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax law will lead to an increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country by 1-2 per cent. This in turn will lead to the creation of more employment and increase in productivity." 

Amalgamating a large number of central and state taxes into a single tax will mitigate cascading or double taxation in a major way, paving the way for a common national market.

"The GST will thus help in the realisation of the objective of One Nation, One Tax and improve the Ease of Doing Business climate in the country. It will also indirectly benefit the common man by reducing the tax burden especially on the daily consumer items of the common man," the statement said.

Also, it added, GST regime will bring in more transparency and efficiency with the minimisation of human interface in the tax administration in the country.

"GST is likely to lead to a reduction in tax evasion as a result of the computerisation of the taxation process. This tax, because of its transparent and self-policing character, would be easier to administer. This will in turn lead to increase in revenue collection for the Centre and the States," it said.

These four legislations had been cleared by the GST Council in its last two meetings this month.

"The CGST Bill makes provisions for levy and collection of tax on intra-state supply of goods or services or both by the central government. On the other hand, IGST Bill makes provisions for levy and collection of tax on inter-state supply of goods or services or both by the central government," the statement said.

The UTGST Bill makes provisions for levy on collection of tax on intra-UT supply of goods and services in the Union Territories without legislature.

Union Territory GST is akin to States Goods and Services Tax (SGST) which shall be levied and collected by the States/Union Territories on intra-state supply of goods or services or both.

The Compensation Bill provides for compensation to the states for loss of revenue arising on account of implementation of the GST for a period of five years.

While the four bills approved by the Cabinet today have to be passed by Parliament, the SGST law has to be approved by each of the state assemblies.

Khaitan & Co Partner Abhishek Rastogi said: "The GST plan is well on time and July 1 looks realistic! The timely approval of the Bills by the Cabinet ensures that the industry would have reasonable time to peruse the details of the law impacting them." 

As a corollary, he said, the assesses will be better prepared for implementation.

It is hoped that all the State Assemblies clear SGST on time as well, he added.
 
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