GST Council gives green signal to Compensation Bill

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) council today gave green signal to a bill that will ensure compensation to the states in case of revenue losses arising from a transition to GST.

In a press conference after the tenth GST council meeting in Udaipur, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, the endeavour of the Government will be to table these supporting legislations in the second half of the budget session beginning 9 March.

On March 4-5, legally vetted drafts for all important bills will be presented to Council, said Jaitley.

Jaitley added that the GST compensation law, which guarantees to provide compensation to states for 5 years for any revenue losses under GST, will now be taken to the Union cabinet for its approval before it is tabled in Parliament.

Jaitley also said that once the bills are cleared by the council, the next stage will be to fit the items into the various tax slabs.

He added that the council had decided against giving powers to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) under the indirect tax act arguing that it already has powers to scrutinize the finances under the CAG act.

“CAG is already empowered under the CAG act to call for any information from the government in relation to public finances. Under the taxation law, it need not be separately given. The income tax act has not given any separate powers to CAG. Why should there be any separate powers under the indirect tax act?” Jaitley also said.

However, the council did not give its final nod to the other three supporting legislations crucial for the implementation of this new indirect tax regime—the central GST (C-GST), the state GST (S-GST) and the integrated GST (I-GST) bills. These bills will now be taken up in the next meeting of the GST council on 4-5 March in New Delhi.