The historic Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime on Wednesday came a step closer to meet its July 1 target of roll out, with the Lok Sabha approving four supplementary legislations. The Central GST Bill, 2017; The Integrated GST Bill, 2017; The GST (Compensation to States) Bill, 2017; and The Union Territory GST Bill, 2017 were passed after negation of a host of amendments moved by the opposition parties.
After passing of the 4 important bills, which will actually form the base of GST regime, Finance Minister said that one GST implementation is completed, ‘some commodities’ can become cheaper. He said that the actual rates of those commodities would depend on whether the rich is accessing them or the poor. Before passing of these bills, Govt. had to cut down more than three dozen amendments proposed by the opposition parties.
As of now, real estate and petroleum products have been kept outside the ambit of GST regime, because further discussions are needed to understand its complexities. Besides, during the discussion, several key pointers were raised by the Opposition, related to implementation of GST regime. For instance, coconut oil shall be considered as a luxury product or an essential product? Now, coconut oil is extensively used in Southern states for cooking food, hence, it should be considered as an essential food product, but in North India, it is mainly used as hair oil, hence, it is a luxury product there.
GST is supposed to eliminate the cascading effects of taxes on production and distribution, as well as differing, conflictual centre-state tax regimes. It’s a big day for India and certainly a sigh of relief!
-By: Tanushree Raina