Hard to predict timeline for GST implementation, says Jayant Sinha

The minister said he was hopeful that both the bills for GST and bankruptcy code will be passed in the next session of the Parliament.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published: December 24, 2015 2:37 am
Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha (centre) at the launch of guidance material for post-award contract management of PPP projects during a function in New Delhi on Wednesday.   (Source: PTI) Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha (centre) at the launch of guidance material for post-award contract management of PPP projects during a function in New Delhi on Wednesday. (Source: PTI)

The government is hopeful of passage of Constitution amendment bill for Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the Budget Session of Parliament, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said on Wednesday.

“GST is a transaction tax and because GST is a transaction tax it can be put in place overnight. Administratively we are ready to go for April 1, 2016, if indeed the constitutional amendment is passed in the budget session,” Sinha told reporters at the sidelines of an event organised by Department of Economic Affairs of Ministry of Finance.

The minister said he was hopeful that both the bills for GST and bankruptcy code will be passed in the next session of the Parliament.

“So we are hopeful of both GST as well as bankruptcy code and if all parties work together too, to think about the interest of the nation, rather than pursuing their vested interest, then we’ll be in a situation where we will be able to give double booster shot to the economy with GST Constitution amendment passed as well as bankruptcy,” Sinha said.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday referred the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code to a 30-member joint committee of Parliament, which will submit its report in the first week of the Budget Session.

On the deadline for rollout of the proposed GST and if it will be rolled out in middle of next financial year, the minister said it was hard to predict a deadline for it and it will depend on the legislative calendar.

Terming the Winter session as “disappointing”, Sinha said Congress had decided to wreck the Indian economy by stalling Parliament.

“Overall it’s been a very disappointing session in Parliament. Obviously our expectation was that we will be able to get the GST constitution amendment bill passed. There was a very broad consensus across all parties. Unfortunately, the Congress party has decided, it wants to wreck the Indian economy,” he said.

Commenting on the conditions proposed by Congress, the minister said, “If you look at the conditions that have been laid out by Congress, we think the solutions that we’ve offered are very reasonable and any party that sees merit in logical argument would very quickly accept what we’re suggesting as solution. If we have a meeting with the minds of Opposition on substance not on politics then I don’t see any reason why the constitution amendment cannot be passed in the Budget session.”

He added that Negotiable Instruments Act and sending of the bankruptcy code to a joint select committee were the only “only saving grace” of Winter session.

Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned sine die on Wednesday, with passage of 13 and 9 bills, respectively by both the Houses of Parliament.

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  1. O
    Onlinegst
    Feb 4, 2016 at 8:06 am
    Is the GST bill is coming or not, is not the discussion point any more. Today, most of the parties are in support of the amendment. Since it has wide ranging implications there are definitely some issues relating to its formulation. With the benefits that are likely to accrue for the economy, a few compromises at this stage will not matter much. In a bid to make it an excellent GST bill the parliamentarians should not get in the way of a good GST reform.
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    1. N
      Narendra M
      Dec 24, 2015 at 3:07 am
      (1) Mr. Jayant Sinha’s candidness as regards launch date for Goods & Service Tax is welcome. In this context, let us recall some facts: When Mr. Pranab Mukherjee was the Union Finance Minister in UPA government he tried hard to introduce GST regime. Mr. Mukherjee made all efforts to get in board all the state governments for introduction of GST. However, that did not happen as UPA government did not get enough support from BJP as the main opposition party. Further, many State governments were apprehensive of revenue shortfall after introduction of GST. Even today, the State governments are not fully satisfied about all provisions in GST bill. (2) As some tax experts have suggested it would be better to defer discussion on GST in both houses of Parliament. New launch date for GST can be decided after both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha p the GST bill. The provisions included in GST bill under consideration of Parliament right now should be thoroughly re-examined. Changes in GST bill suggested by all the stakeholders (State governments, regional parties, whether n power or not, and representatives of trade and industry) should then be fully debated and those changes which are approved by all can then be included in revised GST bill.
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