Road to GST: Council clears draft law for compensating states’ loss

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The Finance Minister Arun Jaitley-led GST Council met on Saturday and finalised the Draft Compensation Bill, in a bid to speed up the rollout of Goods and Services Tax by July 1, 2017.

Crucial draft laws pertaining largely to Central GST (CGST), Integrated GST (IGST) and State GST (SGST) were approved by the panel. The Council also cleared the final drafting of the anti-profiteering clause to ensure benefit of lower taxes gets shared with consumers.

The GST Council will now meet next on March 4 and 5 to give final touches to the CGST, IGST and SGST laws. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Jaitley said all the outstanding issues surrounding these laws would most likely be resolved at the next meeting of the Council.

“After the meeting on March 4 and 5, we hope to table the legislative laws in Parliament in the second half of the Budget session which begins on March 9,” he said.

“The SGST law will go to the state assemblies for approval.” He said that after the next meeting, only one more major sitting of the GST Council would be required to fit commodities into specific slabs.

In the run-up to the GST Council’s tenth meeting in Udaipur, the Law Ministry had sent the approved language and draft of the model GST Law outlining the new national sales tax meant to be levied on products and services.

A sub-committee of the GST Council’s made up of central and state officials had discussed the draft of Friday.

The government plans to introduce the model GST law in Parliament in the second half of the Budget Session beginning next month. The government is keen to roll out the new regime from July 1 but for that, it will have to get two laws – the Central GST (CGST) Act and Integrated GST (IGST) Act — approved by Parliament and each of the state legislatives have to pass the State GST (SGST) Act.

The model GST law provides a common draft of CGST Act, SGST Act. Besides, there is an IGST law and Compensation law. The anti-profiteering clause allows for the constitution of an authority that examines whether input tax credits availed by any registered taxable person, or the reduction in the price on account of any reduction in the tax rate, actually result in a commensurate reduction in the price of the said goods and/or services supplied by the person.

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