The GST council, the key decision-making body that will take all important decisions regarding the GST, will have representation from the central government as well as all the state governments.

A GST Council has been constituted under Article 279A of the Constitution, comprising the Union Finance Minister (who will be the chairman of the Council), the Minister of Revenue and the State Finance or Taxation Ministers to make recommendations to the Union and the States on –

  1. the taxes, cesses and surcharges levied by the Union, the States and the local bodies which may be subsumed in the GST;
  2. the goods and services that may be subjected to, or exempted from the GST;
  3. model GST Laws, principles of levy, apportionment of IGST & Principals of that govern the place of supply; 
  4. the threshold limit of turnover below which goods and services may be exempted from GST; 
  5. the rates including floor rates with bands of GST;
  6. any special rate or rates for a specified period, to raise additional resources during any natural calamity or disaster; 
  7. special provision with respect to the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand; and
  8. any other matter relating to the GST, as the Council may decide.

Section 2(36) of Central Goods & Services Taxes Act, 2017 defines “Council” as the Goods and Services Tax Council established under article 279A of the Constitution.

The mechanism of GST Council would ensure harmonization on different aspects of GST between the Centre and the States as well as among States.

Now, as various provisions of GST are to be enacted on the recommendations of the GST Council which itself is a body of the Centre and States represented by their Finance Ministers, therefore, the Centre & the States cannot take any different stand while enacting the provisions of GST Laws.

Nature of GST Council

The GST Council will be quasi-legislative –cum – administrative body because it functions both legislative as well as administrative duties as assigned by the Parliament to it.

Decisions of GST Council

The Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016 provides that every decision of the GST Council shall be taken at a meeting by a majority of not less than 3/4th of the weighted votes of the Members present and voting.

Voting:

  1. The vote of the Central Government shall have a weightage of 1/3rd of the votes cast &
  2. Votes of all the State Governments taken together shall have a weightage of 2/3rd of the total votes cast in that meeting.

Quorum

One half of the total number of members of the GST Council.

Dispute Mechanism

The Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016 provides that the GST Council shall establish a mechanism to adjudicate any dispute –

  1. Between the Government of India & one or more States, or
  2. Between the Government of India and any State(s) one side & one or more other States on the other Side; or
  3. Between two or more States, arising out of the recommendations of the Council or implementation thereof.

Role of the GST Council

The GST Council will oversee tax collections that at present exceed Rs.13 trillion, Further, the Council is emerging as a platform where Members from 32 States and Union Territories are taking up key issues other than indirect taxation, which has given rise to the idea of a new horizontal federal system.

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