Four bills aimed at rolling out the much-awaited Goods and Services Tax (GST) and usher in landmark tax reforms in the country were tabled in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
The Opposition objecting to it saying the introduction of these measures was not listed in today’s agenda for the House.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduced the Central GST, Integrated GST, Union Territory GST and the Compensation Law for passage by Parliament to implement the one-nation, one-tax regime.
The government proposes to launch GST from July 1. It is estimated that rolling out of the GST can add up to 2 per cent to India’s economic growth.
On Saturday, Jaitley had emphasised the urgency to pass the GST laws during the current session of Parliament, saying the Centre and the states will otherwise lose their right to collect indirect taxes after September 15.
The approval of Parliament, coupled with separate nods by all the State Assemblies, will complete the legislative process for the roll out of one-nation, one-tax regime by merging central taxes like excise duty and service tax as well as state levies like VAT.
The GST Council has already approved four-tier tax slabs of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent plus an additional cess on demerit goods like luxury cars, aerated drinks and tobacco products. The work on for putting various goods and services in the different slabs is slated to begin next month.
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The introduction of the Bills by Jaitley was objected to by a number of Opposition MPs for the manner in which this was being done, saying they were not given enough time to study the proposed legislation.
Raising his objection, Congress member K C Venugopal said the introduction of these bills was not listed in Monday’s agenda and asserted that parliamentary procedures must be followed while dealing with important issues.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs S S Ahluwalia said the bills were uploaded on the government website on the midnight of Friday.
The Opposition MPs took strong objection to the statement saying how could the government expect the members to check the website at midnight and why the issue was not discussed at the meeting of Business Advisory Committee last week.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi and TMC’s Saugata Roy were among those who opposed the way the GST bills were introduced.
Dismissing the opposition objections, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said the bills were sent to the MPs on Saturday morning and there was nothing wrong in these being tabled.