NEW DELHI: With the Lok Sabha unanimously passing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said it is a very important step forward in unifying the indirect tax structures in India.
“Both Houses of Parliament have approved it and what is important that they have done it by a unanimous vote, which shows the larger political consensus on this issue. It, of course, now moves to the states and we’ll request the states to grant their approval expeditiously,” Jaitley told the media outside Parliament.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi also hailed the passage of the bill, saying that the issue relating to the 18 percent cap on GST rate would be taken up by his party in December.
Addressing the media, Gandhi said, “Earlier, we had three major differences in regard to the GST. We’ve worked out those differences. There is one issue, the 18 percent cap issue, and we feel that it is a very important that there is a cap. Because we are worried about inflation resulting from no cap, we will discuss about it in December. But overall, it is a good step.”
Last week, the GST Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha with a thumping majority of 203 votes.
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) members, however, walked out of the Upper House and abstained from voting.
After its passage in the Lok Sabha, the bill will go to the states for ratification.
The Bill needs to be ratified by half of the states to become a law.
After the amendments are carried out, Parliament will pass the GST and Integrated GST Bills and the assemblies will pass state GST Bill for the rollout of the tax reform in the country.
Chief ministers of various states have said if required, they would call special sessions for the passage of the bill in their respective state assemblies.
The GST is aimed at bringing uniform tax regime in the country by subsuming state levies.
Under it, a single rate of GST will replace various taxes to ensure seamless transfer of goods and services.