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Rajya Sabha passes historic GST Amendment Bill: As it happened...

The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014, which lays the ground for roll-out of Goods and Services Tax regime will subsume all indirect taxes, including central excise duty and state VAT/sales tax.


Rajya Sabha passes historic GST Amendment Bill: As it happened...

Zee Media Bureau/Reema Sharma

New Delhi: In a historic landmark, the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the much debated Goods and Services Tax (GST) Amendment Bill after a 7-hour long debate in the Upper House.

The Constitutional Bill, passed late Wednesday night saw the main opposition, Congress and most parties on board.

The passage of the bill to amend the Constitution to facilitate rollout of the historic GST was passed amid government's assurance that the tax rates would be kept "as low as possible".

 

The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014 was approved by the Upper House with 203 votes in favour and none against, after a seven-hour debate during which a rare bonhomie was witnessed among the ruling and the opposition parties.

Six official amendments, including scrapping of one per cent additional tax, moved by the government were approved with cent per cent votes.

Earlier during the day, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday tabled the long-pending Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill in the Rajya Sabha.

Replying to the debate on GST, Jaitley said that when GST system will become more efficient, there will be no tax on tax, evasion will become more difficult.

 

Emphasizing that rates under GST must come down, Jaitley added that the government will strive for a reasonable rate.

The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014, which lays the ground for roll-out of Goods and Services Tax regime will subsume all indirect taxes, including central excise duty and state VAT/sales tax.

The Bill, approved earlier by the Lok Sabha, will now go back to the Lower House to incorporate the amendments approved by the Rajya Sabha. The bill will also have to be approved by 50 percent of all the state assemblies.

 

Here are the updates...

- Rajya Sabha passes historic GST Bill

- Voting on GST Bill underway in Rajya Sabha

- Voting on GST Bill begins in Rajya Sabha

- Amendments on GST Bill put to vote in Rajya Sabha

- I think the whole efforts made by the government in the last few months will be frustrated if the govt does not clarify its stand, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Navi Azad

- I request Arun Jaitely to bring CGST and IGST bill as a Financial Bill, and not as a Money Bill, says Chidambaram

- P Chidambaram demands that the government should categorically tell the house that whether it will bring the GST Bill Finance Bill and not as Money Bill

- AIADMK walks out of Rajya Sabha during discussion on GST

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's reply to the debate on GST

- The states wont be giving up their power, you will part of the exercise of the power

- State law itself can give a devolution in favor of local municipalities, so solution within framework of GST is workable

- Chidambaram's remark "clumsy drafting" is too extreme

- In the GST system you cant have the same assessee being assessed by Govt and the State

- If we put Congress's version of GST on the table today, not one state would be in the position to sign it off

- I think to implement the GST is a headache, to be a former Finance Minister is a luxury now

- When GST system will become more efficient, there will be no tax on tax, evasion will become more difficult

- CEAs report is based on 2013-14, report does not say 18%; we gave a band of 17 to 19%. It's good if we maintain 18%

- Rates under GST must come down, We will strive for a reasonable rate

- We don't make a law out of our own choice, we act on the recommendations of the council

- There will be no cascading effect of tax on tax

- In Consumer Price Index basket 55% items are tax-exempt, 32% are at a low rate, only 12 % at a standard rate

- If GST council makes a suggestion, the council along with Centre's nominees will take a look at them

- The states admittedly have to be stronger but the Union has to be strong too

- We are experimenting new idea in federal polity. Centre and states will sit together and have a uniform tax structure

- Except one, all parties supported the bill

Deputy Leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma says

- Discussions with Congress have only benefited the process of passage of GST

- After 2014, Chief Minister Modi became PM Modi and his thoughts on GST Bill changed. Would've been nice if he were here today

- Then BJP-led Opposition said Congress' GST Bill push would weaken states, even called it 'unconstitutional'

- Consensus is needed for an important subject like GST and it is our duty to inform the citizens about the bill

- We were not opposing GST on political grounds, we wanted GST but we wanted our concerns to be addressed

- Would have been nice if it were acknowledged that UPA Govt's concerns on GST were meant for good of nation

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- It must be ensured that indirect tax does not go more and more regressive and adversly affect the people. Finance Minister will have to explain further as to how the interest of the people will be protected, says CPI leader D Raja

- GST Bill that is being referred to as 'historic', as it stands right now, is a bad deal for a city like Mumbai, says Shiv Sena member Sanjay Raut

- Both at the central and the state level, the transition towards GST model will be challenging, says Senior NCP leader and former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel

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CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury says

- High GST rate will cripple our people.

- State autonomy on tax collection should be maintained

- GST is a regressive tax

- GST is not state friendly

- It will widen the gap between the rich and the poor

- GST rate of 24-25% will economically cripple the majority of Indians

- GST should be in the interest of the people

Kerala 'fat tax' has to be abolished under GST regime

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- GST discussion is a ping-pong match between Congress and BJP; it has been going on for 10 years, says Rajya Sabha MP from the Trinamool Congress Derek O'Brien

- He calls GST as 'Girgit Samjhauta Tax'

 

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- Ex-Finance Minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram says-

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- Want assurance from FM Jaitley that GST Bill will be introduced as Finance Bill, not Money Bill

- Please now, on basis of your own report –‘Cap the tax rate’. We mean it cannot be changed with whim of the executive

- Tax rate of this importance must only be changed with the approval of the Parliament

 

- Standard rate must be 18 percent which will make GST non-inflationary and acceptable to public

- The heart of the bill is what will the rate of tax be? We must remember that we are dealing with indirect tax

- Indirect Tax falls same on rich and poor, thus advisable to keep it as low as possible

- Every FM wants to maximise revenues, but please remember we are dealing with indirect tax here

- It is not a matter between Union Finance Minister and state FMs, it concerns people of the country also

- GST rate should be kept low to benefit the poor

- If you give some states power to impose 1% additional tax, it would have led to multiplicity of taxes

- One of issue was how can you, in destination based tax have provision like some states being allowed to impose additional 1% tax?

- Today, if we pass this GST Bill, it will be on basis of serious discussions, serious debate and negotiations

- Hope the Finance Minister will pass GST Bill not on strength of numbers but in strength of his arguments

- We tried to pass GST Bill with support of principal opposition party but we failed

- Dispute resolution mechanism needs more strengthening

- GST Council must set up a 'Dispute Resolution Authority'

- I would still urge FM to amend a provision to say GST council shall by regulation establish a dispute resolution mechanism

- GST far too important a law to be passed on a partisan basis

- GST also stands for Good Sense Triumphs

- Country is now ready for the idea of GST

- Congress only wanted to fix the serious flaw in the GST Bill

- Let me make it clear, Congress was never opposed to the idea of GST

- The 2014 bill was opposed, idea wasn't because we felt it was possible to have a more perfect Bill

- There were too many flaws in the bill, which could be fixed and hence we didn't support the Bill

- I’m glad FM acknowledged that it was UPA Govt that first officially announce govt’s intention to bring about GST

- I welcome friendly and conciliatory tone of Finance Minister's speech

- We welcome the toning down of its stance by the government in the past weeks

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says

- Merits of the system itself are that it would convert India into one uniform economic market with a uniform tax rate, bring about seamless transfer of goods and services across country, enable us to check evasion

- 2/3rd of the voting power in the GST council belongs to states, 1/3rd belongs to the Centre

- GST Bill not delayed, it is stronger now as there is consensus over it

- State FMS were regularly consulted and all partries were taken into confidence

- Political consensus had to be built up before bringing the Bill

- Several ammendments have been made so far after the debate on contentious issues

- Manufacturing states had many concerns over GST

- GST is the most significant tax reform in recent years

- Congress was always with the idea of GST

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- FM Arun Jaitley moves the GST bill ammendments in Rajya Sabha

- Debate over GST begins in Rajya Sabha

- Sure, GST will be passed, Centre has assured that it will help states for first 3 years in case of loss, says Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh

- We are the original authors, if the nation gets GST, Congress would have made a notable contribution: Anand Sharma, Congress says

- Party's stand is clear, how will you compensate loss that will be caused to BMC through GST? Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena says

 

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