GST Bill gets Cabinet nod

NEW DELHI (TIP): The Cabinet on December 17 cleared the GST Constitutional Amendment Bill for its tabling in the current session of Parliament, as it races against time to keep the April 2016 deadline to usher in the nearly all-encompassing indirect tax that will unify markets and avoid tax cascades.

Although states have not said it in so many words, on many contentious issues, the Centre could get them agree after a series of confabulations over the past week. The Centre’s decision to table the Bill that seeks to allow it to tax transactions beyond the first point of sale of goods at the factory gate and states to tax services is also seen as a persuasive tactic.

The Constitution 122nd Amendment Bill requires to be passed by both houses of Parliament (with votes of two-thirds of the members present) and half the state legislatures. The Bill, as cleared by the Cabinet, doesn’t exclude petroleum products from the purview of GST, but the Centre may agree to keep them out for an initial three to four years to address states’ concerns.

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