CA Vinod Kaushik

CA Vinod Kaushik

Introduction:

Earlier I was not keen in writing any negative thoughts of my mind about the possibility of introduction of GST from 01-04-2016 the biggest indirect taxes reforms in the country since independence. While expressing my views I may be little biased and favor ruling govt. on many occasions particularly our Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley. In this article the discussion would be limited to the status of GST as on date, performance of parliament in monsoon session and possible difficulties for introduction of GST from 01-04-2016.

Monsoon session of Parliament:

The Monsoon session of Parliament was started with great hopes from July 21 with a list of business that also includes “The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014” passed by Loksabha on 06 may 2015 and pending in Rajya Sabha where ruling party does not enjoy majority. The bill was initially introduced by congress party but could not be passed in any of the house of parliament and got lapsed with dissolution of Lok Sabha in 2014. The productivity of Parliament was at its worse and during the monsoon session no substantial bills were passed in any of the house particularly Rajya Sabha. The functioning of both houses was disrupted over issues related to the Vyapam scam and the IPL controversy.

Present status of GST:

As of know the “The Constitution (122nd Amendment) (GST) Bill, 2014” is passed by Lok Sabha on 06 May 2015 and thereafter the opposition party mainly Congress (INC) insisted for referring the bill to the Select committee of Rajya Sabha for its examination. The Govt. accepted the demand and referred the bill to select committee with a commitment to submit its report in the monsoon session. The committee was headed by Mr. Bhupinder Yadav, MP with many other members of other political parties and submitted its report on 22 July 2015. The Select Committee examined the every clause of the bill in detail and made some recommendation on the bill after consultation with various stakeholders. Even after the bill has been sent to Select Committee of Rajya Sabha it could not be passed and session ended on August 13 2015.

Why GST could not passed in Rajya Sabha?

Really there are no sound reasons which caused obstacles in the smooth passage of GST in monsoon session of Parliament. After due discussion with Empowered Group of State Finance Minister, Experts and other stakeholders the ruling Govt. Implemented almost all possible changes in the bill as passed in Lok Sabha. The demand for compensation to States for any loss caused to them due to introduction of GST for 5 years has also been accepted after recommendation of Select Committee of Rajya Sabha. The note of dissent given by Congress MPs and other political parties does not seem convincing. At last what we say that GST is struggling between political corridors and it is the Congress party which is not allowing its own bill to be passed in Rajya Sabha.

Major outcome of Select Committee Report:

The Select Committee constituted to examine the Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014 submitted its report to Rajya Sabha on July 22, 2015. The Bill was passed in Lok Sabha on May 6, 2015, and referred to the Select Committee of Rajya Sabha for examination.

  • The Committee recommended that compensation would be provided to states for a period of five years. Earlier there was an option in the bill for compensation for less than 5 years.
  • The Committee recommended that the GST rate for the banking industry should be minimum, to ensure international competitiveness. If possible, banking services could be outside the purview of GST. The Banks argued that some of the services of banking industry are to common man hence the services will become expensive if GST is levied more than 14% i.e. the present rate of service tax.
  • The Committee stated that the provision of 1% additional tax is likely to lead to cascading of taxes. Hence, it recommended that the term supply be explained to mean all forms of supply made for a consideration. Earlier the bill empowered exporting States to levy 1% additional tax to promote manufacturing States but there was no likely exemption in stock transfer made to other Branches of same organization in other States.
  • The Committee recommended that the term “bands” must be defined to include the range of GST rates, over the floor rate, within which CGST and SGST may be levied on specific goods or services or classes of goods or services. Earlier the bill did not contain any specific rate up to which GST can be levied over and above the floor rate.
  • The Committee recommended that in drafting of state GST laws, revenue sources of Panchayats, Municipalities etc. must be protected. Entry tax, Entertainment taxes are being subsumed in GST hence it is necessary to protect the revenue source of these civic bodies.
  • Notes of Dissent were submitted by Members of Parliaments and in my personal view the dissent notes were political motivated and took a different stand than the view taken by Empowered Group of State Finance Ministers in its various meetings. The Empowered Group is a body of State Finance Ministers which has done a tremendous job in bringing GST to this stage.

Concluding remarks:

At last it is worth to quote the closing comments from report of Select Committee “Would the body (Centre) survive if arteries (States) get choked, so vibrancy of the States comes first for the survival of the Centre”. After the house was adjourned sine die on 13 August 2015 the sources affirmed the introduction GST w.e.f. 01-04-2016 by calling a special session of Parliament.

(Author can be reached  at cavinodkumar67@gmail.com, +91-9953236278)

Disclaimer: Views expressed are strictly personal. The content of this document are solely for informational purpose. It doesn’t constitute professional advice or recommendation. The Author does not accept any liabilities for any loss or damage of any kind arising out of information in this article and for any actions taken in reliance thereon. PRS Legislative Research summary on select committee report has also been referred while expressing opinion.

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