Lok Sabha passes GST Constitutional Amendment Bill

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New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday gave its consent to a far-reaching amendment to the Constitution to pave the way for a pan-India goods and services tax regime and create a unified market across the country, doing away with multiplicity of central and state levies.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hoped, GST will reduce prices in the long run and boost economic growth. At the same time he claimed, No state will lose any revenue after roll out of GST. Besides, both central and state governments are not interested in imposing higher goods and services tax (GST) rates that could hurt people.

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A government think-tank proposed the GST rate be set at 27 percent, well above the global average of 16.4 percent for similar taxes.

While Jaitley said the proposed rate would be too high and needs to be “much more diluted”. As the Lok Sabha took up discussion on the Bill on Tuesday, finance minister Arun Jaitley ‘requested’ the Opposition to help clear the bill and not insist on sending it to the Standing Committee, otherwise the planned roll out of GST from April 1, 2016 will be delayed by another fiscal.

The relevant Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty Second Amendment) Bill, 2014, was passed by a division with 336 ayes, 11 against and 10 abstentions. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan announced the bill was approved with two-thirds majority of the hosue, as required.

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