The four Bills are the Central Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017, the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017, the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Bill, 2017 and the Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017. It may be recalled that Lok Sabha had approved these bills on March 29. GST is a unified tax that will subsume all indirect taxes. It is the country's biggest tax reform since 1947.
"When we look at the global scenario, the GST rate is below 18 per cent", Sharma said.
In the new tax regime, this council will be the highest decision making body; this led to many Opposition members claiming that this provision takes away from the Parliament's authority. Four GST bills are slated for consideration in the House on Wednesday.
The compensation law has been prepared to give a legislative backing to the Centre's promise to compensate the states for five years for any revenue loss arising out of GST implementation.
The CGST Bill will enable collection of tax on inter-state supply of goods and services or both by the union government. The bill seeks to include "warehouse" in the definition of customs area to protect an importer from integrated GST during removal of goods from a customs area to a warehouse.
Jaitley said the successive governments have contributed towards the GST and no one person can take credit for it.
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Again depending on the current supply chain structure and related indirect taxes, a commoner could expect a 2% to 3% plus or minus impact on white goods like televisions, washing machines, stoves, etc. "The status quo will continue", he said, allaying concerns on this front. Basis the GST implementation experience in most countries, India may witness an inflationary impact during the transition phase, which should fade away with the legislation sinking in and operationalizing of measures like anti-profiteering.
"Parliament can not be ignored", he said, suggesting that the GST should be audited by the comptroller and auditor general.
Now food articles are not taxed and those will continue to be zero rated under the GST. "In deference to what the former PM said, in spite of the former PM being at the receiving end of the jibes of his successor including rain coat and what not, I think in view of the statesman-like approach that the former PM Manmohan Singh has advised me not to move this amendment", he added. "There must be a constructive spirit of cooperation between the federal government and the states to resolve the outstanding issues".
The GSTN structure can be changed any time, he said but had a rider that he was not sure the flexibility envisaged would remain after a change.
The Centre owns 24.5 per cent stake in GSTN, state governments own another 24.5 per cent, while the HDFC, NSE Strategic Investment Corporation, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank own 10 per cent each.