As Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recently said India needed to roll out the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill by September 16, the Communist Party of India (CPI) on Sunday said it would wait and see whether that was going to happen because there were many issues that required to be settled. “The Finance Minister has been claiming that the GST will be rolled out by April 2017, but now he is saying anytime between April and September. We will wait and see whether it’s going to happen, because there are many issues that need to be settled,” CPI national secretary D. Raja told ANI.
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“Several state governments are raising objections to some of the issues, because they think it will encroach upon the financial autonomy of the state governments, and it will lead to imbalance in the Centre-State relations as far as finances and taxes are concerned. So, the (GST Council) committee is scrutinising some of the issues and this has to come before parliament, and during parliament debates what is going to happen, nobody is sure of the outcome,” said the Rajya Sabha member.
“Although Mr. Jaitley sounds confident that he will be able to rollout the GST anytime between April and September, there are issues which are not that easy to resolve in the given point of time,” he added. Earlier, Jaitley had said the government was aiming to implement the new sales tax next April. Under a law passed by parliament for the tax’s implementation, some of the existing levies would expire after September 16.
Throwing light on one of the most important legislations of the year, Jaitley yesterday said there is only one small issue with regard to the GST Bill. “There is only one issue, which in the larger frame of things is really a very small issue – You have a pre-existing machinery at the Centre, you have a pre-existing machinery in the state. How is the burden of this assessment going to be shared between the Centre and the states? How we cross-empower the agencies of both, the Centre and the states? Though ideally, with a common taxation, it has to lead to a federal bureaucracy, but till such time, because it’s still a far cry, how does this sharing take place? There are certain kinds of turf issues involved in it. We are trying to solve it,” said Jaitley while speaking at FICCI’s 89th general annual meeting on Saturday.
“Having passed the Constitution Amendment, there are several decisions which the GST Council now has to take and these are of very vital interest to India’s industry. There are about ten important decisions which have already been taken up unanimously, by consensus. The legislations which are to be passed now by the parliament under the Constitution Amendment and the state legislatures are currently in the process of being drafted. I don’t see any major difficulty in those legislations being finally approved,” he said.
Jaitley also informed that as per a notification issued on September 16, 2016, the old taxation regime would continue for a period of one year i.e. till September 16, 2017, after which the curtains would be brought down on it. Being a transactional tax, GST can come into place at any time during a year. However, Jaitley opined that the sooner they would switch to a new system, the better it would be for the country.