India Inc hopes Rajya Sabha will pass GST bill

A day before the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill is to be discussed in Rajya Sabha, India Inc on Tuesday hoped the bill, bringing about the biggest change in the country’s tax structure since Independence, will be passed.

“While the government has left no stone unturned to seek a consensus, the willingness and maturity of the key opposition party in terms of understanding the issues and straightening out the differences is indeed praiseworthy. Industry can now think of ‘One India’, which was truly pursued by all political parties in true letter and spirit, and hopefully the Bill will see the light of the day on Wednesday,” said industry chamber CII President Naushad Forbes.

India Inc was hopeful about the bill’s passage after the Union cabinet last week approved key changes in the proposed legislation.

Forbes also said once implemented, GST will subsume most of the country’s central and state level duties and taxes, thus making the country a national market and contribute significantly to the growth of the economy.

By amalgamating a large number of central and state taxes into a single tax, it would mitigate cascading or double taxation in a major way and pave the way for a common national market.

“From the consumer point of view, the biggest advantage would be in terms of a reduction in the overall tax burden on goods, which is currently estimated at 25-30 per cent. Introduction of GST would also make Indian products competitive in the domestic and international markets. Studies show that this would instantly spur economic growth,” Ficci said in a statement.

The amendments in the bill, which is scheduled to be moved by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the upper house of parliament, are expected to sail through with the government scrapping the additional levy of one per cent proposed earlier.

Technically called the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Second Amendment) Bill, 2014, it has proposed to delete Clause 18 of the original bill that intended to compensate the manufacturing states with one per cent additional duty for a period of two years or more for revenue losses.

The pan-India tax reform has been passed by the Lok Sabha but is stuck in the Rajya Sabha, where the government lacks a majority.