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Constitutional amendment for proposed gst- Part-1
December, 29th 2014

The Union Government on 19 December, 2014 introduced Constitution (122 Amendment) Bill, 2014 in Parliament which when passed shall pave the way for introduction of proposed Goods and Service Tax (GST) in India.

It is to be very clearly understood that this is not a GST Bill. In fact, GST Bill is not in sight at all at this moment. What has been introduced is the Constitutional Amendment Bill enabling or empowering the Government to levy a tax called GST which it cannot levy under the present Constitution. The Bill on passage would enable the Central Government and the State Governments to levy GST. This tax (GST) shall be levied concurrently by various states as well as Union Government. Once this is passed by two-third majority in the Parliament, atleast 50 percent of the states will have to pass it. Once this amendment is through, the road will be clear for GST Bill (and then Act). Eventually, we will have following taxes –

  • National level GST [Central GST (CGST) and Inter-state GST (IGST)]
  • State Level GST (SGST)

What is 122nd Constitutional Amendment

The reasons and objects of the Bill are as follows :

  • conferring concurrent taxing powers on States and Union to make law for levying GST on every transaction of supply of goods or services or both,
  • subsuming number of existing indirect taxes in its ambit,
  • removing cascading effect of taxes,
  • providing for common national market for goods and services,
  • leving GST on all supplies of goods and services except those kept outside its ambit

A newly inserted article 246A provides for special provision with respect to GST. Accordingly, following important clauses of the Bill are worth nothing

  1. Clause 246A

The Legislature of every State shall have power to make laws with respect to goods and services tax imposed by the Union or by such State. Parliament will have exclusive power to make laws with respect to goods and services tax where the supply of goods, or of services, or both takes place in the course of inter-State trade or commerce.

  1. Clause 269A
  • Goods and services tax on supplies in the course of inter-State trade or commerce shall be levied and collected by the government of India and such tax shall be apportioned between the Union and the States in the manner as may be provided by Parliament by law on the recommendations of the Goods and Services Tax Council.
  • Supply of goods or services, or both in the course of import into the territory of India shall be deemed to be supply of goods or services, or both in the course of inter-state trade or commerce.
  • Parliament may, by law, formulate the principles for determining the place of supply, and when a supply of goods or of services, or both takes place in the course of inter-state trade or commerce.
  1. Clause 279A
  • The President shall, within sixty days from the date of commencement of the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-second Amendment) Act, 2014, by order, constitute a Council to be called the Goods and Services Tax Council.
  1. Clause 279A

The Goods and Services Tax Council shall make recommendations to the Union and the States on-

(a) the taxes, cesses and surcharges levied by the Union, the States and the local bodies which may be subsumed in the goods and services tax;

(b) the goods and services that may be subjected to, or exempted from the goods and services tax;

(c) model Goods and Services Tax Laws, principles of levy, apportionment of integrated Goods and Services Tax and the principles that govern the place of supply;

(d) the threshold limit of turnover below which goods and services may be exempted from goods and services tax;

(e) the rates including floor rates with bands of goods and services tax;

(f) any special rate or rates for a specified period, to raise additional resources during any natural calamity or disaster;

(g) special provision with respect to the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur; Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand; and

(h) any other matter relating to the goods and services tax, as the Council may decide.

What will Service Tax Council do

Apart from aforementioned recommendations, it shall undertake the following –

  1. The Goods and Services Tax Council shall recommend the date on which the goods and services tax be levied on petroleum crude, high speed diesel, motor spirit (commonly known as petrol), natural gas and aviation turbine fuel. While discharging the functions conferred by this article, the Goods and Services Tax Council shall be guided by the need for a harmonized structure of goods and services tax and for the development of a harmonized national market for goods and services.
  2. The Goods and Services Tax Council shall determine the procedure in the performance of its functions.
  3. The Goods and Services Tax Council may decide about the modalities to resolve disputes arising out of its recommendations.
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