As per a report in Business Standard, the finance ministry has accepted almost all the recommendations of the Standing Committee on the Constitution Amendment Bill for GST and is likely to seal a deal with the states later this month.
The Standing Committee, headed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha, had suggested keeping a floor rate and ceiling for GST, taking decisions in the GST Council by voting and not consensus, and removal of a provision to set up a Dispute Settlement Authority, among others. The standing committee had also suggested that like the Value-Added Tax, the states might also be given flexibility in joining GST.
In line with the recommendations of the standing committee, the finance ministry has made changes to the Bill, which has been vetted by the law ministry. The ministry has by and large gone with the recommendations, but has reserved its view in a few areas. For instance, the ministry is not in favor of giving an option to the states to stay out of GST and has already made its decision clear to the states.
Now the empowered committee (EC) of state finance ministers, which also comprises representatives from the finance ministry, would meet on September 19 to discuss the Constitution Amendment Bill. After reaching a consensus with the EC on the Bill in its upcoming meeting, the finance ministry would take it to the Cabinet for introduction in the winter session of Parliament. The Bill would have to be passed by a two-third majority in Parliament. Then, it would have to be ratified by legislatures of at least half the states. The passage of the Constitution Amendment Bill in Parliament would be a huge step forward and could facilitate its early introduction when the new government comes into power.