With GST Bill getting presidential nod, the government has started the process of setting up GST Council and the proposal is likely to be taken up by the Cabinet next week.
The GST Council will decide, among other things, the goods and services tax (GST) rate and prepare a model Bill for operationalisation of the new tax regime.
“Obviously, it (GST Council) will be taken to the Cabinet. The next Cabinet meeting, whenever that is, will take up the issue,” Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said in Delhi.
Union finance minister will head the GST Council that will comprise state finance ministers.
On Thursday, President Pranab Mukherjee gave assent to the Constitution Amendment Bill on GST, a major step towards rolling out the new indirect tax regime.
GST is a single indirect tax that will subsume most central and state taxes such as value added tax (VAT), excise duty, service tax, central sales tax, additional Customs duty and special additional duty of Customs.
Adhia further said the exemption list has not been finalised yet.
The Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian-headed panel suggested that exemptions be restricted to a few ‘merit goods’ that feature prominently in the consumption basket of the poor such as food items, especially cereals, pulses, edible oils, vegetables and fuel.
It also said exemptions should also be confined to finished goods because taxes on intermediates are in any case reclaimable as input credits.
Recently, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government is “running against time” for implementation of GST, but added that he would certainly like to give it a try.
The Centre is aiming to implement the landmark indirect tax regime from April 2017.
“We have kept a very stiff target and the reason is that there is a great national aspiration in support of a reform that GST is, and state after state within a period of 20-25 days have kept on ratifying it because they stand to benefit the most,” he had said.