Draft GST compensation Bill passed

Source: Indian Express, Feb 19, 2017

NEW DELHI: In what could speed up the rollout of the goods and services tax (tax) by July 1, 2017, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley-led GST Council met in Udaipur on Saturday and agreed on the draft of the compensation Bill that looks into how much states should be paid for the losses they would incur once GST is implemented. The compensation Bill is one of the four enabling laws under the GST constitutional amendment.

According to Jaitley, the remaining laws – state GST, integrated GST (IGST) and central GST (CGST) – will be cleared in the next meeting slated for March 4-5 in Delhi.

“The GST’s compensation law states that if any state suffers loss it will be covered in the first five years. Its legally vetted draft came before the Council and was the first law formally passed,” Jaitley said.

The next meeting of the GST Council will be held in Delhi on March 4-5 to give final touches to these laws. This will include the time for exemption for industry such as the works compensation for services and value-added tax, where they need to be categorised, what will be the definition of agriculture, etc.

The FM said that once all drafts are approved by the Council, those will be placed in Parliament. “In Budget Session’s second half (that begins on March 9), all enabling laws under GST constitutional amendment should get approved,” he noted.

The SGST law will go before the state legislature and come up at the March 4-5 meeting.
He added that after the March 4-5 meeting, officers would start slotting the commodities. “We will require another major meeting to give approval to the specific items in each of the slabs.”

Responding to a question of the power of the Comptroller and Audit General under GST, Jaitley said, CAG is already empowered to seek clarification from the state under CAG Act, the issue did come up and it was agreed that since the law exists there is no need to for separate laws.

According to Pratik Jain, partner and leader, Indirect tax, PwC, “Once the laws are passed by the Council, the focus would shift to determination of GST rates on various products.”

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