State GST Bill gets nod, Jaitley says tentative roll out likely in July

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India on Thursday moved yet another step closer to implement the country’s biggest tax reform possibly from July after the Centre and states agreed on a draft law that will enable states and union territories to impose the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The GST council approved the State GST and Union territories (UT-GST) Bills, while agreeing on capping cess on demerit goods like cigerettes and liquor at 15%, finance minister Arun Jaitley said after a meeting.

“The supporting GST laws will now be taken to the Cabinet and then to Parliament for approval,” he said.

Jaitley, who also heads the GST Council, said the government was hopeful that GST could be “tentatively” implemented from July.

Bharatiya Janata Party’s win in key state elections including that in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Goa has emboldened the Narendra Modi government to accelerate reforms and spur growth before the country heads for national election in 2019.

On March 4, the Centre and states agreed on two draft laws needed to roll out GST, a move that will likely make a range of services, including eating out and mobile internet, cheaper.

The GST council has already approved the draft of the Central GST and Integrated GST bills. These will now be ratified by Parliament and the states.

After the March 5 meeting, Jaitley expressed confidence in sticking to the July deadline for GST roll out.

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