Draft laws on GST get nod, now go to Lok Sabha

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The GST Council cleared the C-GST and I-GST bills today. Subsequently, the bills will be tabled together in Parliament in the second half of the budget session.

Under the GST norms, restaurants with an annual turnover of less than Rs 50 lakh will be able to avail of a composition scheme and pay a flat tax of 5% (2.5% central GST and 2.5% state GST) as the GST Council made a decision to widen the ambit of this scheme.

The change in the peak rate will not alter the four-slab rate structure of 5%, 12%, 18% and 28% agreed upon past year, but is only a provision being built into the model law to take care of contingencies in future.

"The SGST law will apply to all States and Union Territories with legislatures (Delhi and Puducherry), but will not apply to those Union Territories without a legislature", the Union Finance Minister said.

In a significant step towards meeting the July 1 deadline for the roll out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the GST Council on Saturday gave its formal approval to the Central GST (CGST) and Inter-State GST (IGST) laws, with the Compensation Law already having been approved during the previous meeting on February 18. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that all the states have agreed over the most of the points of the model GST law.

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The GST Council in its meeting held in Udaipur last month had approved the Compensation Bill which provides for compensation to states for revenue losses arising from a transition to the GST.

The S-GST, which will allow states to levy the tax after VAT and other state levies are subsumed in GST, will have to be passed by each of the state Assemblies.

The S-GST and UT-GST laws will be on the lines of C-GST law, Jaitley said, added that the legal committee is giving finishing touch to drafts of these laws. Officials said this "14%" will now be changed to say the rate will not exceed "20%".

In a press conference after the meeting, finance minister Arun Jaitley expressed hope that the implementation of GST from 1 July will be possible. This way, there won't be any need to seek Parliament's approval in case there is a need to increase levy on specific goods and services. "So the applied rate is going to be what the council has decided". The UT-GST will also go to Parliament for approval.

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