GST bills passed in Rajya Sabha without amendments

GST bill to be tabled in Rajya Sabha today

Replying to the debate on the four bills in the Rajya Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the goods that are exempted from taxes now will remain to be exempted once the GST is in place.

He hoped that the "bipartisan cooperation" extended by the Congress and the "consensus" displayed on the GST would "become a norm and not be an exception".

Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed four GST Bills, ensuring merger of the new taxation policy smoothly to make India a unified market latest by July 1.

The four bills passed today - the Central GST bill, the Integrated GST bill, the Union Territories GST bill and the compensation law - have already been cleared by the Lok Sabha, where the government has a big majority, last week.

On top of the highest slab, a cess will be imposed on luxury and demerit goods to compensate the states for revenue loss in the first five years of GST implementation. "I am just trying to highlight the difference between the former Prime Minister who is a statesman and the present Prime Minister who is a politician", Ramesh said.

Replying to debate, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley assured the Rajya Sabha that agricultural produce will not be taxed under the new indirect tax regime.


Later talking to reporters outside Parliament, Mr Jaitley said, Parliament has passed all the four bills related to GST unanimously. "This Bill, I have no hesitation in conceding, is a collective property", he said. He said it took nearly 11 years to build a consensus on the roll out of the GST.

Discussing the Bills, most of the political parties favoured them but cautioned the government on all possible shortcomings the legislation may have.

Other commodities would be fitted into the nearest tax bracket, he said. But still, concerns were raised about the sweeping powers of the GST council, the GST network and the GST rates. He added that GST would herald an era of cooperative federalism and said that it would bring efficiency and transparency in tax administration.

Clarifying on the tax rate on petroleum products in the regime, Jaitley said that the Council has decided that the petroleum products though they have been included under GST, will remain zero rated as of now. The Government of India holds 24.5 per cent equity in GSTN and all States, including NCT of Delhi and Puducherry, and the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers, together hold another 24.5 per cent.

"But, even worse than that is the fact that both in the Central GST and the State GST, the tax rate can be up to a maximum of 20 per cent, which means, theoretically speaking, for any good or service, you can have a maximum rate of 40 per cent".

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