GST In Lok Sabha One More Time, PM Modi To Speak Soon: 10 Developments

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  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to speak in the four-hour Lok Sabha discussion at the end of which the House will vote on amendments passed by the Rajya Sabha in the bill. The Lok Sabha had passed the bill last year.
  2. “Tax evasion will lessen, there will be no tax on tax or a cascade of taxes and ease of doing business will improve,” said Mr Jaitley, stating that India’s major tax reform will see the Centre and states “pooling their sovereignty to reap the many benefits that will ultimately lead to India’s progress”.
  3. The minister thanked political parties for uniting in support of the reform to ensure it was passed in the Rajya Sabha, where the government is in a minority. That support came after much negotiations.
  4. The Congress, which stalled GST for months before agreeing to support it in the upper house after winning concessions, reminded the government today that it had pushed through the bill in the Lok Sabha last year by the sheer dint of its numerical strength and not consensus.
  5. “After suppressing the opposition in the Lok Sabha, you went and got stuck in Rajya Sabha, and you finally had to come down. If you would have shown more cooperation in Lok Sabha to begin with, this would have been a far smoother ride,” said the Congress’ Veerappa Moily.
  6. The main opposition party has pledged support to the bill but is likely to again ask for a categorical assurance from the government that it will not introduce the next GST-related bills as money bills, which don’t need the Rajya Sabha’s clearance.
  7. After the Lok Sabha passes the 122nd constitutional amendment bill today, it will be sent for the President’s assent which the government hopes to secure in a day or two.
  8. The bill will then be sent to the states. At least 15 or half of India’s 29 states must ratify the amendment in the constitution and the government targets getting that approval within 30 days as it chases an April 1, 2017 deadline for GST implementation.Several states will have to call for special sessions to clear GST in the next 30 days.
  9. A GST council will be formed after that with states and the Centre as members. This council will recommend rates and other modalities for GST, which will replace a raft of different state and local taxes with a single unified value added tax system turning India into world’s biggest single market.
  10. Parliament will need to clear two more GST-related bills and each state will have to pass its own law. To meet its deadline the government will push to get this done in the winter session of parliament.

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