This Article is From Aug 07, 2013

Parliamentary panel approves GST bill with changes

New Delhi:

Seeking to expedite implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST), a Parliamentary panel today
gave approval to the legislation while suggesting amendments to provisions relating to tax structure and dispute resolution mechanism among others.

Headed by senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, the Standing Committee on Finance said the GST Bill should not include specific aspects relating to tax rates, exemptions, exclusions, thresholds, administrative arrangements etc.

"What should be included in the laws and rules should not form part of the Constitution of India. The present bill relating to GST, in the Committee's view, has not been well drafted from this perspective and therefore require amendments as suggested...", it said.

Among other suggestions, the panel said that a monitoring cell be created to oversee impact on key aspects like growth, inflation, hoarding, compliance cost for tax payers and price of end products.
It also pitched for suitable amendments in the bill to provide for a permanent compensation mechanism to address revenue concerns of states.

Implementing the GST, which seeks to subsume indirect levies like excise, services tax and sales tax, has been pending for past several years. Under the GST regime, both the Centre and states will have powers to tax supply of goods and services right from primary stage to final consumption.

As regards the GST dispute settlement authority, the Committee suggested that the proposal should be omitted and the GST Council be empowered to deal with differences among stake holders.

The committee said that before proceeding to enact the bill, "broad consensus on key issues concerning the implementation of GST should be arrived at between the centre and the state governments."

It dismissed the apprehensions that the proposed GST Council recommending tax rates will infringe upon the supremacy of Parliament or State Legislature.

Expecting the proposed GST Council to follow the principles of cooperative federalism, the committee said, "the mandate entrusted to it ... does not in any way alter the existing constitutional scheme in so far as the Legislature, both Union and States, is concerned."

Noting that various matters relating to GST are in flux, the Committee said that it "decided to pronounce their views on the Bill and fulfil their mandate so that they are not blamed for stalling the Bill".