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Will GST be a reality?
Thu, 7 May Pre-Open

Lack of consensus between the Centre and the states has led to the protracted delay in the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). April 2016 has finally been proposed as the implementation date for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the Union Budget 2015-16. GST will usher in a uniform and single taxation for goods and services across the country. By doing away with a multitude of taxes such as sales tax, VAT and Central sales Tax, the GST regime is expected to lower the overall cost for companies. And the end consumer stands to benefit as a result of the reduced price of goods and this in turn is likely to boost demand and spur economic growth. GST is also likely to provide a level playing field for players in the organized market.

All in all, GST is a win-win situation for the government, India Inc and the final consumer. Therefore with the land ordinance bill already facing stiff opposition, the ruling government is leaving no stone unturned for the passage of the constitutional amendment bill for GST in the Parliament. One bone of contention is the loss of revenues to states as a result of implementation of this indirect tax regime. To address this, the government has included a compensation of Rs 330 bn (Source: Business India) to be paid to States and Union Territories over a five year period. Another area of disagreement has been the exclusion of petroleum and petroleum products from GST. Towards this, the government has appointed a committee of state finance ministers headed by K. S. Mani, who is the finance minister in the Congress coalition government of Kerala. The job of this committee would be to bring petroleum and petroleum products under GST in the second phase. Through this crucial move the government wants to gain approval from the opposition.

And the efforts of the government seem to be yielding result. The GST Constitution Amendment Bill was recently passed in the Lok Sabha. The bill now needs to be passed in the Rajya Sabha and then approved by more than 50% of all the states.

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