GST Bills in present form not acceptable: Congress

The Lok Sabha on Wednesday approved all the four supporting Goods and Service Tax (GST) Bills.

PwC India Indirect Tax Leader Pratik Jain said "a few important changes have been proposed in the GST Bills which include zero rating of supplies to SEZs, introduction of "duty drawback" and exclusion of J&K from the definition of "India" for GST purposes".

Late on Wednesday evening, the Lok Sabha passed the Bills, signalling one of Narendra Modi's biggest victories as Prime Minister in the field of reform.

The four GST Bills were passed after an eight-hour marathon debate in the Lower House.

The Integrated GST or IGST will be a tax to be levied by the Centre on inter-state movement of goods and services.

The C-GST Bill makes provisions for levy and collection of tax on intra-state supply of goods or services, the I-GST deals in taxation of inter-state movement of goods and services, while the UT-GST covers taxation in union territories.

The Centre estimates total compensation to states for losses arising from a transition to GST to be around Rs 50,000 crore in the first year.

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Explaining the bills, he said the Central GST or CGST will give powers to the Centre to levy tax after excise, service tax and additional customs duty are all subsumed.

Several opposition members, including Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi and Trinamool Congress leader Saugata Roy opposed the way in which the GST bills were introduced.

Deloitte Haskins Sells LLP Senior Director M S Mani said: "While service tax is applicable at present on sale of under construction apartments, it is levied on a lower value as abatement allowed".

Service tax, at present, is levied on payments made for under-construction residential houses after providing abatement, which brings down the effective rate from 18 per cent to 6 per cent. On the impact of GST on prices, Jaitley said: "Today you have tax on tax, you have cascading effect". He said the GST will bring a single tax structure for the common people and small traders and it was West Bengal which ensured that no state government suffers financially due to the implementation of GST.

In his reply at the end of the seven-hour long debate, Jaitley said that the mantra should instead be "one-commodity- one-tax".

Under the legislation, the government also plans to impose a surcharge on taxes on items like luxury cars, soft drinks and tobacco products. Rahul told the members to raise the issue of the farmers and press for a farm loan waiver in Parliament.

Mulayam Singh Yadav of Samajwadi Party said that his party is not opposing to the bill but giving some suggestions.

  • Sonia Alvarado