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President Pranab Mukherjee gives assent to GST

President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday gave assent to the Constitution Amendment Bill on Goods and Services Tax (GST), official sources said today.

This is a major step towards rolling out a new indirect tax regime, which the Modi government wants to come into effect from April 1 next year.

The passage of the Bill will pave the way for setting up a GST Council that will decide the tax rate, cess and surcharges.

The GST is a single indirect tax, which will subsume most of the Central and State taxes such as the Value Added Tax (VAT), excise duty, service tax, central sales tax, additional customs duty and special additional duty of customs.

On August 8, Parliament passed the Bill, which was then circulated to the State governments seeking its ratification.

A Constitution amendment bill needs to be ratified by the legislative Assemblies of at least 50 per cent of the States.

The Bill was sent to the President’s Secretariat after as many as 19 States, the BJP-ruled Assam being the first, ratified itl.

The other States that have passed legislation include Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Nagaland, Maharashtra, Haryana, Sikkim, Mizoram, Telangana, Goa, Odisha, Rajasthan, Arunachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.

Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said recently that the government is ahead of schedule for GST implementation.

“Instead of 30 days kept for this (States’ ratification), it is achieved in 23 days,” he said in a tweet.

Now that the Bill has got Presidential assent, the government will notify the GST Council. Headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the Council comprises state Finance Ministers.

The States and the Centre are working overtime and talking to stakeholders to draft the Central GST, State GST and Integrated GST laws, which are to be passed in the winter session of Parliament.

The CGST and IGST will be drafted on the basis of the model GST law. The States will draft their respective GST (SGST) laws with minor variation, incorporating State-based exemptions. The IGST law would deal with inter-State movement of goods and services.


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