Rajya Sabha passes all four GST bills to pave way for rollout

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"Yesterday the former Prime Minister (Singh) advised me not the move the amendment because it will disturb the fine consensus that has been arrived in the GST Council".

Earlier, replying to the debate on the four bills in the Rajya Sabha, Jaitley said that goods that are now exempt from taxes at present will remain so once the GST is implemented.

GST will subsume a host of indirect taxes levied by the Centre and states, including excise duty, VAT, service tax, entry, luxury and entertainment levies.

Noting that both the central and state governments are pooling their sovereignty to have this tax regime, Jaitley noted that India, despite being one political entity, remained different economic entities with states having different taxes.

Speaking after the bills were passed, Singh said, "It could be a game changer but can't assume there will be no difficulties on the way".

Responding to concerns expressed by the members, Jaitley insisted that the GST will not lead to inflation. "It will become hard to implement", Jaitley said but O'Brien did not relent.

"If any issues crop up, then the GST Council will address them", he said.

Jaitley said the successive governments have contributed towards the GST and no one person can take credit for it.

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While no amendments were proposed to the bill, opposition members, however, voiced concerns against investing customs authorities with unbridled powers to collect information. The IGST will be a tax to be levied by the Centre on inter-state movement of goods and services.

One more piece of legislation, the State GST Bill, will have to be passed by the legislative assemblies of States and Union Territories with legislature.

The bill was introduced by Minister of State for Finance Santosh Gangwar.

"I was in favour of real estate, Delhi government was in favour", Jaitley said.

"Parliament can not be ignored", he said, suggesting that GST should be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

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. He said, all those items which are exempted as of now will continue to be exempted.

Ancilliary products also will remain exempted, he added. Today, constitutionally, petroleum products are under GST, but will be zero rated.

He said the harsh provisions related to the recovery of tax should not be implemented during the transition phase of the GST. "This is the reason the amendments in taxation law have been necessitated", the minister added. "There must be a constructive spirit, cooperation between the federal government and the state government to resolve those outstanding issues", he said.

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