Even as the select committee of the Rajya Sabha has endorsed almost all the provisions of the Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill for implementing the Goods and Services Tax, the opposition including the Congress, AIADMK and Left parties have given dissent notes on the report citing several reasons.
The Congress has listed several recommendations including fixing a ceiling rate of 18 per cent for GST in the Constitution itself, doing away with the additional one per cent levy to manufacturing states as it will lead to cascading, and including tobacco, electricity and alcohol under the purview of GST, in its note of dissent.
“It (the Bill) is pitted with compromises, exclusions and exceptions that make it impossible for us to extend our support to the Bill in the absence of the amendments we have proposed being incorporated in the bill…,” the Congress said listing eight points of dissent.
The Congress has also asked for a Dispute Settlement Authority; safeguarding the revenue of panchayats; special consideration to states where the population does not exceed 20 lakh; enhancement of share of states’ voting rights from two-thirds to three-fourth and definition of supply and supplies.
Similarly, the AIADMK has also favoured the raise in weightage of the vote of the states to three-fourth and reduction of the Centre’s voting power to one-fourth. It further states that the GST Council as a constitutional body “impinges” on the legislative sovereignty of both Parliament and the state legislatures. “It also completely jeopardises the autonomy of the states in fiscal matters.. we strongly object to the provision for the GST Council,” the AIADMK note said. Additional one per cent levy has also drawn criticism of the party along with the inclusion of petroleum products under the ambit of GST.
Both the Left parties and AIADMK have demanded that states should be empowered to levy higher taxes on tobacco and tobacco products while petroleum and products should be kept out.