NEW DELHI: President Pranab Mukherjee signed the historic flagship Goods and Services Tax Bill on September 8. Finally, the Goods and Services Tax Bill is coming to reality after a long ten years.
This bill will eliminate the need for a broad range of Central and state taxes. Once the GST bill is implemented, it will usher in one tax transparent regime for the entire country.
With the President granting approval to the long-pending GST bill, the bill now turns to the courts of respective states. This is because there are some states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu which has not yet passed the bill yet.
18 States Ratified the GST Bill
As many as 18 states from the overall 31 have already ratified the GST bill. It requires ratification from nearly 50 percent of the states since the GST is a constitutional amendment bill. The flagship GST bill was sent to the President’s secretariat after 17 states ratified the bill. Interestingly, Assam, ruled by the BJP was first to approve the bill.
Andhra Pradesh Vetted the GST Bill on September 8
The remaining states which have already ratified the legislation include – Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Nagaland, Maharashtra, Haryana, Sikkim, Mizoram, Telangana, Goa, Odisha, and Rajasthan.
Meanwhile, the Andhra Pradesh assembly ratified the bill today thus increasing the tally to 18. Meanwhile, Kerala finance minister Thomas Issac said that the GST bill would be passed in the next Assembly session itself.
Commenting on the President’s nod, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia disclosed that the government is ahead of schedule for implementation of GST.
Formation of GST Council
With the President giving assent to the GST bill, the government is gearing up to implement the new tax system from April 1. The next step is to form the GST Council, which will decide the tax rate, cess, and surcharges.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the government is planning to complete all the formalities before the end of November. In the meantime, the ministry is working hard to develop the required IT infrastructure.
The GST bill was passed in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha after a stormy debate. Initially, Congress was the biggest problem for the ruling BJP since they imposed several restrictions. However, when the matter was tabled before the house, all members accepted it.