After Presidential Assent, GST Is Now a Law

Pranab Mukherjee. Credit: PTI

Pranab Mukherjee. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee today gave assent to the Constitution Amendment Bill on Goods and Services Tax (GST), a major step towards rolling out the new indirect tax regime which the Narendra Modi government wants to bring into effect from April 1 next year.

The passage of the bill will pave the way for setting up of a GST council that will decide the tax rate, cess and surcharges.

The GST is a single indirect tax which will subsume most of the 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.

Parliament had on August 8 passed the bill which was then circulated to state governments seeking its ratification.

A constitutional amendment bill needs to be ratified by the legislative assemblies of at least 50% of the states.

The bill was sent to the president’s secretariat after as many as 17 states, BJP-ruled Assam being the first, ratified the bill.

The other states which have passed the legislation include Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Nagaland, Maharashtra, Haryana, Sikkim, Mizoram, Telangana, Goa, Odisha and Rajasthan.

Revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia had recently said that the government is ahead of schedule for the implementation of GST.

“Instead of 30 days kept for this (states’ ratification), it is achieved in 23 days,” he had said in a tweet.

Now that the bill has got presidential assent, the government will notify the GST Ccuncil, which will decide on the tax rate. Headed by union finance minister Arun Jaitley, the council will comprise state finance ministers.

The states and the Centre are working overtime and talking to stakeholders to draft the central GST, state GST and integrated GST laws, which are to be passed in the winter session of parliament.

The  central GST and integrated GST will be drafted on the basis of the model GST law. The states will draft their respective state GST laws with minor variations incorporating state-based exemptions. The integrated GST law will deal with the inter-state movement of goods and services.