Lok Sabha Passes GST Bills, But Opposition Had Concerns Too

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the fellow citizens on the passage of all the four GST bills in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the fellow citizens on the passage of all the four GST bills in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday (March 29). With the day’s development, the government said it was readying itself for the July 1 rollout of the landmark indirect tax legislation.

Even as the passage of the four bills was hailed, there were apprehensions expressed by the Opposition members.

Former Union Minister M Veerappa Moily said that the real estate sector generated most black money, yet it was not covered by the legislation. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the decision to bring real estate within the GST ambit would be taken within one year of the rollout of the new indirect tax regime.

CPI-M’s Mohammed Salim said the bill would accentuate the divide between the haves and the have nots.

Trinamool Congress’s Saugata Roy said that the businesses were far from ready for GST. The Trinamool is supporting the government on the move.

NCP’s Supriya Sule cautioned against any data breach from the Goods and Services Tax Network.

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said that the legislation did nothing for the rural populace.

BJD’s B Mahtab said that it was unlikely that the move would bring a great change in the country, as was being said.

Rashtriya Lok Samata Party’s Ram Kumar Sharma wondered whether petroleum could be brought under the ambit of GST.

AIADMK’s TG Venkatesh Babu indicated that the party had got over its initial reservations over the move, as Tamil Nadu was a manufacturing sate.

Earlier, Moily, speaking on the move, said it was not a game-changer, but only the first baby steps. “The one nation, one tax concept is only a myth. There are too many rates, cesses,” said Moily.

“Seven to eight years have passed since we in the UPA government wanted to bring the GST bill. Some parties (read the BJP) felt it should be resisted,” he said, adding that the delay cost the country Rs 12 lakh crore over the last few years.

On his part, Jaitley allayed apprehensions about rise in prices of goods and commodities after the roll out of GST saying tax rates will be kept at near current levels to ensure that there is no inflationary impact.

Introducing four bills to give effect to the Goods and Services Tax, Jaitley said preparations to roll out the new tax regime is nearing completion and the process to classify categories of commodities will start next month.

“The aim of the GST Council is to decide everything relating to the tax structure with consensus and this is for the first time that such an arrangement has been made, based on the principle of shared sovereignty of both the Centre and the state governments,” he said.

“The GST council is India’s first federal institution where sovereignty of the Centre and the states in relation to indirect taxes have been pulled in together in a federal institution. It is incumbent on all of us to make sure that this federal institution works. The delicate balance between what the Centre and states have unanimously agreed is almost a federal contract,” he added.

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