GST ratification: States to call special assembly sessions

After the ratification and the subsequent Presidential assent, a GST Council with representatives from the Centre and states will be formed within 60 days of the enactment of the Bill.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published:August 16, 2016 2:35 am

After Assam became the first state on Friday to ratify the Constitution (122nd) Amendment Bill for Goods and Services Tax (GST), other states have also lined up their tentative schedule for the ratification in their respective state assemblies. Of the remaining minimum 15 states’ ratification before the Bill heads to President for assent, Bihar is likely to become the second state to ratify the Bill having called for a special session on Tuesday. Bihar assembly’s monsoon session ended on August 4 but it has called for a special one-day session on August 16 to pass the GST Bill.

Other states that have announced plans to hold a special assembly session include Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Jharkhand assembly, whose monsoon session ended on July 29, is going to be the third in line to ratify the Bill by calling a special one-day session on August 17.

Next would be the BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh, which has called for a special one-day session on August 22 to “discuss” the Constitution 122nd Amendment Bill for GST, passed recently by the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, said Devendra Verma, Principal Secretary of Chhattisgarh Assembly, in a statement on Sunday.

On the same day, another BJP-ruled state, Gujarat, too will conduct a special session of its assembly. Gujarat is expected to ratify the Constitution Amendment Bill during its two-day session beginning August 22. Madhya Pradesh has also called for a special one-day session on August 24 to facilitate the ratification of the Bill by the state assembly.

Delhi assembly, too, is expected to ratify the Bill during its four-day special session beginning August 22. Similarly, Maharashtra has shown interest in calling a special assembly session for clearing the Bill.

Therefore, by next week, the total number of states to have completed their ratification process for the Bill is likely to stand at six. The ratification process by other states is expected to be a smooth for the Centre with 13 states being governed by BJP. At least 16 out of 31 state assemblies, including Union territories of Delhi and Puducherry, need to pass the Bill with a simple majority.

The government expects to complete the ratification process by states within a month, aiming at April 1, 2017 as the target date for implementation of the indirect tax regime.

Last Monday, Lok Sabha passed the Constitution Amendment Bill for GST after it was reintroduced in the Lower House following some changes in the Bill introduced in Rajya Sabha. The earlier version of the Bill was passed by Lok Sabha in May 2015 and sent to Rajya Sabha, which cleared the Bill with amendments on August 3, 2016 and returned it to Lok Sabha.

After the ratification and the subsequent Presidential assent, a GST Council with representatives from the Centre and states will be formed within 60 days of the enactment of the Bill. The Council will be entrusted with recommending the tax rates, including the band of rates for goods and services. The Council will also decide on the draft GST law and Place of Supply rules and also the exemptions, threshold limits, dual administration between the states and the Centre as well as on the reports of the Joint Committee constituted by the Empowered Committee of the State Finance Ministers on payment process, registration, refund process and returns under GST, which are in public domain for suggestions. The finance ministry will finalise the Central GST and Integrated GST Bills, which would then be approved by the Union Cabinet followed by their likely presentation in Parliament for its approval during the Winter Session.

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