Parliament discusses GST, Finance Bill, members voice concerns

New Delhi [India], Mar.29 (ANI): Lok Sabha took up discussion on the four bills related to GST: Central GST, Integrated GST, Union Territory GST and GST (Compensation to States) Bills. During the debate, members across political parties raised several concerns regarding the roll out of the new tax.

Members questioned the feasibility of an anti-profiteering clause in the CGST Bill in a market economy. Further, some members questioned the incorporation of such a clause in light of an existing competition law.

Members also argued that a multiple rate structure may be against the idea of a levying GST at a single rate on all goods and services. It was pointed out that classifying goods and services under different slabs may become a complex exercise.

As per the Bills, the central government will notify the GST rates as recommended by the GST Council. Some members argued that such a provision could undermine the legislative power of Parliament. Under the Constitution, the power to levy taxes is vested in Parliament and state legislatures. Members cautioned that the GST Council (which comprises Finance Ministers of the centre and state governments) is a coordinating body and should not substitute legislative functioning.

Other issues like security of the GST network, training of tax officials were also highlighted by MPs.

In the Rajya Sabha, the discussion on the Finance Bill was concluded. Minister Arun Jaitley replied to the debate and the Bill was returned to Lok Sabha with amendments. Four amendments were passed by the Upper House.

Three such amendments were piloted by Mr. Digvijay Singh and were related to search and seizure powers of IT officials, powers of the commissioner, and powers of an IT authority to survey a charitable organisation. Mr. Sitaram Yechury's also moved an amendment related to removal of limits of corporate funding to political parties. (ANI)