Dr. Sanjiv Agarwal
There are three prime models of GST:
Canada has GST at Union level extending to all goods and services covering all stages of value addition. In addition, there is tax at province (State) level in different forms which include VAT, Retail Sales tax and so on. European Union (EU) Nations (each one is independent Nation but, part of a Union and have agreed to adopt common principles for taxation of goods and services) have adopted “classic” VAT.
In the Indian context, Constitution of India specifically reserves the power to impose tax on specific activities to specific level of Government, e.g., tax on import of goods can be imposed by Union Government only whereas tax on sale of goods involving movement of goods within the State can be imposed by State Governments only.
Illustration of GST
Central GST (CGST)
Under this option, the two levels of Government would combine their levies in the form of a single National GST, with appropriate revenue sharing arrangements among them. The tax could be controlled and administered by the Central Government. There are several models for such a tax. Australia is the most recent example of a National GST, where it is levied and collected by the Centre, but the proceeds are allocated entirely to the States.
In the case of a Central GST (where all goods and services are taxed by the Central government only), the Centre will collect most of the country’s total tax revenue, leaving very little for the sub-national Governments. As against this, the present proposal is to have a dual GST.
A single national VAT has great appeal from the perspective of establishment and promotion of a common market in India. However, the States may worry about the loss of control over the tax design and rates. Indeed, some control over tax rates is a critical issue in achieving accountable sub-national governance and hard budget constraints. The States may also be apprehensive that the revenue sharing arrangements would over time become subject to social and political considerations, deviating from the benchmark distribution based on the place of final consumption. The Bagchi Report also did not favour this option for the fear that it would lead to too much centralization of taxation powers.
The key concerns about this option would thus be political. Notwithstanding the economic merits of a National GST, it might have a damaging impact on the vitality of Indian federalism.
Salient Feature of CGST