The Union Cabinet recently approved a bill to replace the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and a proposal to set up a fund to boost stranded infrastructure projects. Along with this, it has also given its approval for amendments to the GST (Goods and Services Tax) Bill. Let's have a look at all of these in a little more detail.
Consumer Protection Bill, 2015
As per an article in Livemint, the cabinet has given its approval on replacing the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 with Consumer Protection Bill, 2015. This will seek to protect the interest of consumers by regulating e-commerce. Undoubtedly e-commerce has offered consumers with many opportunities. However, it has also posed many threats by the means of unfair and unethical business practices. For this the government has included swift executive intervention to prevent consumer detriment. The Consumer Protection Bill, 2015 would bring e-commerce companies under the consumer protection and competition laws. It will be also aiming at safeguarding the interests of online shoppers.
National Infrastructure and Investment Fund
In a big boost to Infra-financing, the Narendra Modi-led government has given its approval for the formation of Rs 200 bn National Infrastructure and Investment Fund (NIIF). This initiative is in order to fast-track the mega projects under hold and to bolster the economic growth. The fund will have an initial authorized capital of Rs 200 bn and a government contribution of up to 49%. NIIF will function as a sovereign fund and will also seek equity participation from overseas investors.
Changes in the GST legislation...
GST (Goods and Service Tax) seems to be the next big reform for the Indian Economy. Gone will be the days of levying taxes on goods and services separately. Recently we have shared our views on how GST can be a bane too. The article stated the issues that lay between the implementation of GST. However, with the yesterday's Cabinet approval of the amendments to the GST Bill can take us an inch closer to the implementation phase.
The amendment in the GST Bill constituted of compensation offered by the states to be 'for 5 years' rather than up to 5 years as worded earlier. The additional 1% manufacturing tax will not be levied on stock transfers as to control cascading effect of the additional tax. The government has also agreed to change the language proposed in the bill. This is with regards to compensation to states for revenue losses arising from GST's implementation.
The GST is widely expected to provide simple tax procedure. It will work on cascading effect, thereby eliminating double taxation. For companies, it will keep a check on their accountability as the input tax credit eliminates the room for frauds or incorrect accounting procedures. How the final shape & form, and execution of the much awaited new indirect tax regime pans out remains to be seen.