GST bill: Centre to advance winter session of Parliament to pass bill

In a bid to roll out the crucial Goods and Services Tax (GST) from April 1 next year, the Modi government is considering advancing the winter session of Parliament to pass the Central GST (CGST) and Integrated GST (IGST) Bills, and pave the way for the implementation of the new tax regime.
The session is generally convened in the third or fourth week of November. The government, however, is looking to start the session from the first fortnight of November, just after the festival season.
The Winter session of Parliament is generally convened in the third or fourth week of November. The government, however, is looking to start the session from first fortnight of November, just after the festival season.
Terming GST reform as a “game changer”, Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha today said the government is working “overtime” to implement the indirect tax regime from April 1 next year.
The government is keen for early passage of the Central GST (CGST) and Integrated GST (IGST) bills, as it will give enough time to the Finance Ministry for implementation of the GST. The two bills are supporting legislations to the Constitutional Amendment Bill approved in the Monsoon session of Parliament.
GST, being a constitutional amendment, required a ratification by 50 percent of state Assemblies, which has been achieved.
Earlier this month, President Pranab Mukherjee had given his assent to the bill. The Cabinet had also approved setting up a powerful GST Council a week ago, which will decide on the tax rate, exempted goods and the thresholds.
The CGST and IGST bills have been drafted on the basis of the model GST law. The states will draft their respective State GST (SGST) laws with minor variation incorporating state-based exemption. The IGST law would deal with inter-state movement of goods and services.
The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2016, for introduction of the GST in the country was accorded assent by the President on September 8 and the same has been notified as the Constitution (101st Amendment) Act, 2016.
“GST is the biggest game changer. But it is also a challenge. We are working overtime to make it happen from April 1, 2017,” Sinha said at the Chief Secretaries Conclave last week organised by industry chamber PHDCCI in Delhi.
The Government wants to implement the tax reform from April 1 next year so as to ensure a smooth rollover to the changed tax structure from the beginning of the new fiscal and to avoid mid-year alterations.
Sinha assured the gathering that the GST and other path breaking reforms that the government has committed to its people will be implemented as promised.
“A silent revolution is happening and despite teething problems, India would move on to accomplish the objectives and targets set in by the government in all sectors of economic activities with increased participations of all stakeholders to further improve the spirit of governance,” he said.
The infrastructure sector – roads, civil aviation, energy, conventional and non-convention, power, petroleum and railways – have improved their performance as per targets, he said adding the civil aviation sector has begun to grow at the rate of 20 per cent, posing a serious challenge to railways in terms of traffic.
Speaking at another session in the conclave, CEO of the Niti Aayog Amitabh Kant said: “We are trying to build a spirit of competition on ease of doing business among states.”
States are now competing among themselves to attract investors and this is a positive sign, he added.
He said the government is focused on innovation and trying to make India an easy simple place to do business.
The government has taken various steps to facilitate further improvement, including bringing in the bankruptcy law, e-biz platform for a single channel of approvals and a national company law tribunal, he added.