Pranab likely to table bill on GST today
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is likely to table a Constitution Amendment Bill in Parliament on Tuesday to facilitate implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST).
It will facilitate implementation of a new tax regime that subsumes levies like excise, sales and service tax.
The Union Cabinet had given green signal to the bill on the GST and the Finance Minister could table it Parliament on Tuesday, sources said.
The Bill is likely to be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee for scrutiny.
The GST, which is considered as a major tax reform, has been pending for the last four years due to differences between centre and some states over the structure of the new tax regime.
"The decision to table the bill is a positive development. The Finance Minister was committed to bring it in the current session and he is doing that," Ernst and Young Tax Partner Harishanker Subramaniam said.
The Finance Ministry has worked on the final draft Constitution Amendment Bill, the fourth since the discussions on the new tax regime commenced.
Earlier, the first three drafts prepared by the Centre were rejected by the states citing autonomy issues.
The fourth draft, a hybrid of the second and third draft, has proposed setting up of a modified GST council through a presidential order for taking decisions on all important matters.
In addition, the composition of the GST Dispute Resolution Authority, proposed to be a part of the Constitution Amendment, will be decided by Parliament.
Furthermore, petroleum, natural gas, diesel and ATF have been kept out of the GST ambit in the final draft.
Last year, a draft Constitution Bill proposed by the Centre to the states had suggested a council chaired by the Union Finance Minister, with states as members, to make changes in GST.
The states, especially NDA-ruled ones, had raised objections to the proposal, saying it would give veto power to the Union Finance Minister over state taxation issues.
The Centre subsequently provided another draft to states, suggesting that changes in GST could be made only if there was a consensus on those issues in the council.
However, some state finance ministers did not agree to even this suggestion.
Taking into consideration the states' concerns, the Finance Ministry had then floated a third draft on the GST Constitution Amendment Bill.