Amid demands by industry and stakeholders to delay implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) system, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said the government is still looking at July 1 as the date for rolling out the new indirect tax regime.
"We will also move about 6-7 amendments".
That the Congress floor strategy on the GST bills was fluid was evident early today when former finance minister P. Chidambaram decided not to intervene in the debate.
"We are looking at July 1 roll out". He said, it is a matter of happiness that all political parties extended their support in the passage of the bills. It is widely hailed as the biggest revamp of the tax regime since the country's independence in 1947. The GST proposes a lower 5%, two standard tax rates of 12 and 18%, and a peak rate of 28%. On GST network, Mr. Jaitley said the data is fully secured with an IT firewall.
Ramesh said he was not moving this amendment at all in keeping with the spirit of consensus, to maintain the federal framework and to give respect to the GST council.
The GST is one of the most significant reforms since India opened its economy in the early 1990s that will harmonise a mosaic of state and central levies into a national sales tax. Jaitley had significant step forward had been taken by the central government in this regard.
Referring to an aspect in the bill which talks about powers of a tax official to "collect relevent information", he said this was questionable as "the arbitrary powers will lead to abuse and corruption".
BJP member Subramanian Swamy on Wednesday questioned the shareholding pattern in the GSTN, the IT backbone of Goods and Services Tax (GST), terming it "a shady organisation" and saying it was a "grave security" issue.
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SB 340 , a similar bill, is scheduled be heard in its final committee, the Senate rules committee, on Thursday. Supporters say this is a crucial change that will eliminate inconsistent regulations across county lines.
According to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the prime objective of the GST is to have one tax and each assessee with one assessing officer.
Sitaram Yechury of the Communist Party of India-Marxist expressed frustration that the GST was introduced to the Rajya Sabha as a finance bill.
He said the GSTN has been designed in such a manner that it can not be audited by CAG and RTI too does not apply to it.
He said the government should "resist the temptation" to bring maximum goods and services under the rate of 18 per cent, cautioning that such a move will be inflationary. He said, all those items which are exempted as of now will continue to be exempted.
There are 4.20 lakh vacancies, which comes to about 11.5 per cent of the staff strength, Tharoor said, adding there is also lack of coordination among the various departments. Today, constitutionally, petroleum products are under GST, but will be zero rated.
Other commodities would be fitted into the nearest tax bracket, he said.
It has been set up primarily to provide IT infrastructure and services to central and state governments, tax payers and other stakeholders for implementation of the GST.