President Pranab Mukherjee has signed the Government’s much-awaited Goods and Services Tax Bill, which will do away with the indirect taxes and usher in one tax for the entire country.
With the President’s assent, the focus now shifts to the enabling acts, which have to be passed in the Centre and the states. Sixteen of the country’s 31 states have already ratified the GST.
The Government plans to roll out the new indirect tax regime from April 1, 2017.
With the President giving his assent to the Bill, the Government will notify the GST Council. Union Finance Minister will head the Council, which will comprise State Finance Ministers.
The GST Council will decide on the tax rate, cess and surcharges which are to be subsumed and also decide on the goods and services which would be exempted from the purview of the new indirect tax regime.
The Bill was passed unanimously by the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha in August and the Government is running against time to meet the April 1 deadline for its implementation, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said recently in an event.
“We have the months of September and October and parts of November to do that. So there is a lot of work to do and if you are able to successfully transact those issues, then in the winter session of Parliament the central legislations, with some drafts in public domain, will have to be brought in,” the minister had said.